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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Gluten Sensitivity May Trigger Sensory Ganglionopathy

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: New study on gluten sensitivity sensory ganglionopathy.

    Celiac.com 10/28/2010 - A team of researchers recently found that gluten sensitivity can play a role in triggering a certain type of neurologic dysfunction, called sensory ganglionopathy, and that the condition may respond to a strict gluten-free diet.

    The team conducted a retrospective observational case study on 409 patients with different types of peripheral neuropathies, including seventeen patients with sensory ganglionopathy and gluten sensitivity.

    The research team was made up of M. Hadjivassiliou, MD, D.G. Rao, MD, S.B. Wharton, PhD, D.S. Sanders, MD, R.A. Grünewald, DPhil, and A.G.B. Davies-Jones, MD. They are affiliated variously with the Departments of Neurology, Neurophysiology, Neuropathology, and Gastroenterology at Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, UK.

    Neurological issues are common in people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity. On eof the most common neurological issues in these people is called peripheral neuropathy. The most common type of neuropathy seen in people with gluten sensitivity is sensorimotor axonal.

    The team reviewed data on 409 patients with different types of peripheral neuropathies. All of these patients had been followed for a number of years in dedicated gluten sensitivity/neurology and neuropathy clinics.

    Fifty-three of these patients (13%) showed clinical and neurophysiologic evidence of sensory ganglionopathy. Seventeen of these fifty-three patients (32%) showed positive blood screens for gluten sensitivity.

    The median age of those with gluten sensitivity was 67 years, with symptom onset starting at 58 years on average.

    Seven of those with positive blood screen evidence gluten sensitivity showed enteropathy upon biopsy. Fifteen patients went on a gluten-free diet, resulting in stabilization of the neuropathy in eleven of the fifteen.

    The remaining four patients did not follow the gluten-free diet and their conditions worsened, as did the two patients who declined dietary treatment. Autopsy tissue from three patients showed inflammation in the dorsal root ganglia with degeneration of the posterior columns of the spinal cord.

    These results led the team to conclude that sensory ganglionopathy can result from gluten sensitivity and may respond positively to a strict gluten-free diet.

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    Guest Rosemary Melcher

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    What does ganglionopathy mean? What are the symptoms? I am 78, diagnosed with celiac 6 years ago and have trouble enough understanding a gluten-free diet, let alone medical words. Can you help an elderly declining brain? Is a declining brain a symptom of celiac?

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    What does ganglionopathy mean? What are the symptoms? I am 78, diagnosed with celiac 6 years ago and have trouble enough understanding a gluten-free diet, let alone medical words. Can you help an elderly declining brain? Is a declining brain a symptom of celiac?

    It looks like Rosemary is still waiting for an answer, after almost 3 years. Shame on the authors and the website for not caring about feedback and questions. I think the question is quite legitimate! Or is this forum only for MDs?

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    It looks like Rosemary is still waiting for an answer, after almost 3 years. Shame on the authors and the website for not caring about feedback and questions. I think the question is quite legitimate! Or is this forum only for MDs?

    This is not a forum - we request that people not post questions in comments specifically for this reason. We have a forum for such questions: https://www.celiac.com/forums/

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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 science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. 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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