Celiac.com 11/02/2015 - People with celiac disease frequently report cognitive symptoms when they are exposed to gluten, and clinicians have documented cognitive deficits in some patients with newly diagnosed celiac disease. A team of researchers recently set out to determine whether patients with celiac disease have an increased risk of dementia.
For their study, the team used a population-based database of adults aged 50 years and older with histologically proven celiac disease; that is, patients showing duodenal/jejunal villous atrophy. The database included patients from all 28 pathology departments in Sweden.
The team compared the incidence of a subsequent dementia diagnosis to those of age- and gender-matched controls.
In all, the team reviewed data on 8,846 patients with celiac disease, and 43,474 control subjects, with a median age of 63 years; 56% were female. Over an average follow-up time of 8.4 years, 4.3% of celiac disease patients were diagnosed with dementia, compared with 4.4% of control subjects (HR 1.07; 95% CI 0.95–1.20).
Even though the data showed an increased risk of dementia in the first year following celiac diagnosis (HR 1.73; 95% CI 1.15–2.61), the risk did not continue through entire the follow-up period. Moreover, the increased risk was restricted to celiac patients with vascular dementia (HR 1.28; 95% CI 1.00–1.64), and was not present for Alzheimer’s dementia (HR 1.12; 95% CI 0.91–1.37).
Overall, people with celiac disease do not show any increased risk for dementia, though subgroup analysis suggests that they may have a higher risk for vascular dementia.