Study May Indicate Biologic Basis for Brain Fog in Persons with Celiac Disease

From The Onion: Dumbass Dog Wearing Face Mask All Wrong

From The Onion


A recent study (ID Croall, et al. Gastroenterol 2020; 158: 2112-22), using a UK Biobank with 500,000 adults, compared 104 participants with celiac disease to 198 healthy age-matched controls (mean age 63 years).

The authors examined cognitive outcomes, mental health outcomes and imaging data (MRI, diffusion tensor imaging).

Key findings: 

  • The celiac cohort had significant deficits in reaction time (P=.004), anxiety (P=.025), depression (P=.015), thoughts of self-harm (P=.025), and health-related unhappiness (P=.01)
  • Imaging studies showed white matter changes “which match up well anatomically with the regions affected in the celiac-related neurologic syndrome gluten ataxia.”

Limitations: study lacked data on celiac treatment status –whether better control or earlier diagnosis/treatment would reduce CNS complications is uncertain.  Also, whether these findings are more or less prevalent in individuals with undiagnosed celiac disease is unclear.

My take: This study provides further evidence that celiac disease results in significant neurologic problems and further reasons for those with celiac disease to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet (as other studies of neurologic outcomes indicate that a GFD can improve/reverse neurologic morbidities).

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