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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Do Celiac Patients Have a Greater Risk of Myasthenia Gravis?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Is there a connection between celiac disease and myasthenia gravis? A team of researchers conducted a study to find out.


    Caption: Image: CC--glasseyes view

    Celiac.com 05/28/2018 - Myasthenia gravis is a medical condition caused by a disturbance in the communication between nerves and muscles. Symptoms include weakness of arm or leg muscles, double vision, drooping eyelids, and difficulties with speech, chewing, swallowing and breathing. There is no cure for myasthenia gravis, but treatment can help symptoms to improve. 

    Some case reports have indicated a connection between celiac disease and myasthenia gravis (MG). A team of researchers recently set out to determine if those reports are accurate, and, if so, what the connection might be between celiac disease and risk for myasthenia gravis.

    The research team included Sujata P. Thawani, Thomas H. Brannagan, Benjamin Lebwohl, Peter H. R. Green, and Jonas F. Ludvigsson. They are variously affiliated with the Department of Neurology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY USA; the Peripheral Neuropathy Center, Neurological Institute, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY USA; the Celiac Disease Center, Department of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY USA; the Department Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden; the Department of Pediatrics, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden; and with the Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.

    The team found 29,086 people who had celiac disease in Sweden between 1969 to 2008. The team then compared these individuals with 144,480 matched control subjects. They used Cox regression to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for future MG, as identified through ICD codes.

    Their study period covered 326,376 person-years of follow-up in celiac patients. Over that period, they found 7 cases of MG, for a total of 21 cases per million person-years. In the control group, the team found 22 cases of MG over 1,642,273 years of follow-up, for a total of 14 cases per million person-years, which yielded an HR of 1.48 (95% CI = 0.64–3.41). 

    The HRs did not change when stratifying for age, sex or calendar period. HRs were highest in the first year after follow-up, though insignificant. 

    Individuals with celiac disease showed no increased MG risk for more than 5 years after celiac diagnosis (HR = 0.70; 95% CI = 0.16–3.09).

    Fortunately, this study showed no increased risk for myasthenia gravis in celiac disease patients.

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    Over that period,[in celiacs]  they found 7 cases of MG, for a total of 21 cases per million person-years. In the control group, the team found 22 cases of MG over 1,642,273 years of follow-up, for a total of 14 cases per million person-years. 

    My math says that there were 50% more celiacs with MG than the control group. 14 cases not celiac versus 21 cases celiac.  This looks like the same math Johnson and Johnson used when they decided that a 30% increase in ovarian cancer by using their product was not significant.

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    I am a female patient with Myasthenia Gravis for 30 years and I have suffered tremendously because of this disorder. I had a thymectomy twenty five years ago and still have symptoms of MG. I came across Best Health Herbal Centre website after so many years researched through the internet. I was so desperate to find a way to treat this disorder naturally. Thank God for leading me to Best Health Herbal Centre. I started using Best Health Herbal Centre MG herbal formula this year. After 10 weeks of usage, my MG was totally reversed, symptoms like muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing, double vision, fatigue, impaired voice, or shortness of breath disappeared completely..Am now 67 years old living MG free.

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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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