Celiac.com 06/13/2012 - In general, doctors and researchers know a good deal about how celiac disease works, and they are finding out more all the time. However, they know very little about non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).

Photo: CC -- EmeraldimpIn an effort to learn more about non-celiac gluten sensitivity, a team of researchers recently carried out a study to measure the presence of somatization, personality traits, anxiety, depression, and health-related quality of life in NCGS individuals, and to compare the results with celiac disease patients and healthy control subjects. They also compared the response to gluten challenge between patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity and those with celiac disease.

The research team included M. Brottveit, P.O. Vandvik, S. Wojniusz, A. Løvik, K.E. Lundin, and B. Boye, of the Department of Gastroenterology at Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål in Oslo, Norway.

In all, the team looked at 22 patients with celiac disease and 31 HLA-DQ2+ NCGS patients without celiac disease. All patients were following a gluten-free diet.

Over a three day period, the team challenged 17 of the celiac disease patients with orally ingested gluten. They then recorded the symptoms reported by those patients. They did the same with a group of 40 healthy control subjects.

The team then had both patients and healthy control subjects complete questionnaires regarding anxiety, depression, neuroticism and lie, hostility and aggression, alexithymia and health locus of control, physical complaints, and health-related quality of life.

Interestingly, patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity reported more abdominal (p = 0.01) and non-abdominal (p < 0.01) symptoms after the gluten challenge than patients with celiac disease. The increase in symptoms in non-celiac gluten sensitivity patients was not related to personality.

However, the two groups both reported similar responses regarding personality traits, level of somatization, quality of life, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Responses for both groups were about the same as for healthy controls.

The results showed that patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity did not show any tendencies toward general somatization, as both celiac disease patients and those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity showed low somatization levels.

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