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Celiac Disease Linked to Dementia


People with the digestive disorder celiac disease may have an increased risk of dementia or other forms of cognitive decline, according to an examination of medical histories. Researchers say the connection could be due to nutritional deficiencies brought on by the disorder, inflammatory cytokines, which could cause problems in the brain, or an immune attack on the brain.

The researchers point out the people who have atypical dementia, such as those diagnosed under the age of 70, should be evaluated for possible celiac disease. Though celiac was once considered rare, it's now known that one in 33 people may have the disease.

Celiac disease has also been linked to schizophrenia, indigestion and osteoporosis. Most of the time, following a gluten-free diet, which includes avoiding wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt, is effective in preventing the side effects of celiac disease. In fact, even people who have not been diagnosed with celiac disease often benefit from avoiding these grains.

Archives of Neurology October 2006; 63:1440-1446

Science Daily October 12, 2006

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