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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Can Head Trauma Trigger Celiac Disease?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 09/12/2013 - There is evidence that certain types of gut trauma can trigger celiac disease, but almost nothing is know about whether traumatic brain injury might trigger a neurological form of celiac disease in some individuals.

    Photo: CC--EMRTG6 is a brain expressed form of transglutaminase that seems to be connected to neurological expressions of celiac disease. 

    Researchers Jonas F Ludvigsson and Marios Hadjivassiliou wanted to test the hypothesis that earlier brain injury due to head trauma may be more common in patients with celiac disease, potentially through trauma-induced TG6 leading to interaction with TG2.

    Ludvigsson and Hadjivassiliou are variously affiliated with the Department of Pediatrics at Örebro University Hospital in Örebro, Sweden, the Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Department of Medicine at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, USA, and with the Department of Neurology at Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, UK.

    For their study, they used biopsy reports from all 28 pathology departments in Sweden to identify 29,096 individuals with celiac disease, which they defined as the presence of villous atrophy.

    They then assessed the risk of earlier head trauma in celiac disease patients compared to the risk in 144,522 controls matched for age, sex, county and calendar year. They used logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (ORs).

    They found that a record of earlier head trauma in 981 (3.4%) patients with celiac disease, and in 4,449 (3.1%) control subjects.

    People who had suffered from head trauma showed a 1.10-fold increased risk of future celiac disease (95% CI = 1.02-1.17); independent of sex or age at celiac disease.

    The highest risk of future celiac disease was seen during the first year after trauma. There was no connection between severity of trauma and risk of developing celiac disease.

    These results show a very small excess risk for future celiac disease in individuals with an earlier head trauma.

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    My celiac disease was caused Augmentin, a powerful combo of two anti-biotics. My wife is a GI nurse specialist and she also believes this was the cause (or should I say "trigger"?). The bacterial balance of the gut is criminally understudied...

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    I had a severe skull fracture on 1988 and celiac disease was dignosed in October 1989. It didn't become full blown until after my skull fracture. I always thought that their was a connection somehow but never really knew. Thanks for the article.

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    When I was 4 (1961) the tailgate of a trailer pinned my head to the ground. 4" in skull fracture and hematoma. I found out I had celiac 11 years ago. Looking back over my life I would say I always had it just no one found it.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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