Celiac.com 04/29/2009 - A team of researchers based at UK's prospective University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) have found a link between gluten and schizophrenia. According to their latest findings, proteins found in the gluten of wheat, rye and barley might play a role in triggering schizophrenia in people with a genetic risk for the condition, or in worsening symptoms in people who have the disease.
The research team has been looking into the role played by gluten in schizophrenia and diabetes, as well as hunting for connections between the two disorders. Their research showed that the bodies of certain schizophrenia sufferers could not properly processes gluten, which led to tissue damage.
As a result of these and other findings, researchers now consider genetic risk factors, together with environmental triggers, to be central to development of both schizophrenia and diabetes. Gluten is one such example.
According to senior researcher and reader in genetics, Dr. Jun Wei, more than one-third of all people with schizophrenia show "high levels of antibodies against wheat gluten," and may experience some improvement in symptoms with a gluten-free diet.
Though the studies are still in their early stages, the hypothesis is encouraging, because, as noted by head of UHI department of diabetes and cardiovascular science, Prof Ian Megson, if it is correct, "a simple change in diet might prevent these diseases...in some individuals."
The research is part of two comprehensive studies at UHI into the connections between schizophrenia and diabetes, and the role played by gluten, and is supported by a £300,000 grant from the Schizophrenia Association of Great Britain (SAGB).
It would be interesting to see more research done on the connection between celiac disease and schizophrenia
, as other studies have indicated that there is a link.
Source: BBC News