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    Gini has a Masters degree from New York University in health science and has been a nutritionist for over 20 years. She specializes in celiac disease, gluten intolerance and diabetes. Gini offers recipes and menus to her patients. Her site is: www.healthbygini.com.

  • Related Articles

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 10/27/2014 - There have been a few reports tying cortical myoclonus with ataxia to celiac disease. Such reports also suggest that the former is unresponsive to a gluten-free diet.
    A team of researchers recently set out to determine if there is any significant connection between the two conditions. The research team included Ptolemaios G. Sarrigiannis, Nigel Hoggard, Daniel Aeschlimann, David S. Sanders, Richard A. Grünewald, Zoe C. Unwin, and Marios Hadjivassiliou.
    They are variously associated with the Departments of Gastroenterology, Neurology, Neurophysiology and Neuroradiology at Royal Hallamshire Hospital, in Sheffield, UK, and with the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences at Cardiff University in Cardiff, UK.
    The team presented detailed electro-clinical characteristics of a new syndrome of progressive cortical hyperexcitability with ataxia and refractory celiac disease. Regular follow ups of over 600 patients with neurological manifestations due to gluten sensitivity revealed 9 patients with this syndrome.
    They found that all nine patients, six men and three women, experienced asymmetrical irregular myoclonus involving one or more limbs and sometimes face. This was often stimulus sensitive and became more widespread over time. Three patients had a history of Jacksonian march, and five had at least one secondarily generalized seizure. Electrophysiology showed evidence of cortical myoclonus. Three showed a phenotype of epilepsia partialis continua at onset.
    All patients showed clinical, imaging and/or pathological evidence of cerebellar involvement. All patients followed a strict gluten-free diet, and most successfully eliminated gluten-related antibodies. However, all patients still showed evidence of enteropathy, suggests that refractory celiac disease is to blame.
    During the study, two patients died from enteropathy-associated lymphoma and one from status epilepticus. Five patients were treated with mycophenolate and one in addition with rituximab and IV immunoglobulins. These patients showed improvement of ataxia and enteropathy, but continued to suffer the effects of myoclonus.
    These results indicate that myoclonus ataxia might be the most common neurological manifestation of refractory celiac disease.
    The clinical involvement, apart from ataxia, covers the whole clinical spectrum of cortical myoclonus.
    Source:
    Cerebellum & Ataxias 2014, 1:11. doi:10.1186/2053-8871-1-11

    Jefferson Adams
    Gluten Triggers 1 in 4 Cases of Sporadic Ataxia
    Celiac.com 01/16/2017 - Cerebellar ataxias can be caused by a wide range of disease processes, either genetic or acquired. Establishing a clear diagnosis requires a methodical approach with expert clinical evaluation and investigation.
    A team of researchers recently published a description of the causes of ataxia in 1500 patients with cerebellar ataxia.  The research team included M Hadjivassiliou, J Martindale, P Shanmugarajah, R A Grünewald, P G Sarrigiannis, N Beauchamp, K Garrard, R Warburton, D S Sanders, D Friend, S Duty, J Taylor, and N Hoggard.
    They are variously affiliated with the Academic Department of Neurosciences, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Sheffield, UK; Sheffield Diagnostic Genetics Service, Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK; the Department of Gastroenterology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Sheffield, UK; and the Department of Neuroradiology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Sheffield, UK.
    All patients in the study were referred to the Sheffield Ataxia Centre, UK, and underwent extensive examination, including, where appropriate genetic testing using next-generation sequencing (NGS).
    The team followed-up patients on a 6-month basis for reassessment and further investigations, as needed.
    The team assessed a total of 1500 patients over 20 years. Twenty per cent of those patients had a family history of ataxia, with the remaining having sporadic ataxia.
    The most common cause of sporadic ataxia was gluten ataxia at 25%. They found a genetic cause in 156, or 13% of sporadic cases, with alcohol excess causing 12% and a cerebellar variant of multiple system atrophy causing 11% of sporadic cases.
    Using NGS, they obtained positive results in 32% of 146 patients tested. The most common ataxia they found was EA2. A total of 57% of all familial ataxias were supported by genetic diagnosis. The most common genetic ataxias were Friedreich's ataxia (22%), SCA6 (14%), EA2 (13%), SPG7 (10%) and mitochondrial disease (10%).
    The diagnostic yield following attendance at the Sheffield Ataxia Centre was 63%. Immune-mediated ataxias are common. Advances in genetic testing have significantly improved the diagnostic yield of patients suspected of having a genetic ataxia.
    Making a diagnosis of the cause of ataxia is essential due to potential therapeutic interventions for immune and some genetic ataxias.
    Gluten is a culprit is 25% of sporadic ataxia cases, and clinicians should keep this in mind when diagnosing patients, as many of these cases can be reversed with a gluten-free diet.
    Source:
    J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. doi:10.1136/jnnp-2016-314863

    Jefferson Adams
    Can a Gluten-Free Diet Help Ataxia Patients?
    Celiac.com 08/10/2017 - Gluten ataxia is defined as sporadic ataxia with positive antigliadin antibodies without an alternative cause. Gluten ataxia patients often receive MRS at baseline and again after a period on a gluten-free diet.
    A research team recently set out to evaluate the effect of gluten free diet on magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) of the cerebellum in patients with gluten ataxia.
    The research team included M Hadjivassiliou, RA Grünewald, DS Sanders, P Shanmugarajah, N Hoggard. They are with the Academic Departments of Neurosciences (M.H., R.A.G., P.S.), Gastroenterology (D.S.S.), and Neuroradiology (N.H.), Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, UK.
    The team included 117 consecutive patients with gluten ataxia in their report. Sixty-three followed a strict a gluten-free diet with elimination of antigliadin antibodies, 35 ate a gluten-free diet, but still tested positive for antigliadin antibodies, while 19 patients were not following a gluten-free diet.
    The N-acetylaspartate (NAA)/creatine (Cr) area ratio from the cerebellar vermis increased in 62 out of 63 (98%) patients on strict a gluten-free diet, in 9 of 35 (26%) patients on a gluten-free diet, but positive antibodies, and in only 1 of 19 (5%) patients not on a gluten-free diet. The NAA/Cr ratio decreased in all 14 ataxia control patients (cerebellar variant of multisystem atrophy), while the researchers saw no differences in the MRS results between patients with celiac disease and those without.
    Better NAA/Cr ratios seen on follow-up scans supports previous findings that gluten ataxia patients see clinical improvement a gluten-free diet
    Such improvements can occur regardless of existing enteropathy, so patients with positive serology and negative duodenal biopsy should still maintain a strict a gluten-free diet.
    Source:
    Neurology. 2017 Jul 19. pii: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004237.doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004237.

    Jefferson Adams
    Does Autoimmunity Play a Role in Cerebellar Ataxia with Sensory Ganglionopathy?
    Celiac.com 01/15/2018 - Cerebellar ataxia with sensory ganglionopathy is a disabling combination of neurological dysfunction that usually occurs as part of certain hereditary ataxias. However, some patients present this combination with no apparent genetic cause.
    A team of researchers recently set out to if autoimmunity might have a role to play in SG. The research team included Panagiotis Zis, Ptolemaios Georgios Sarrigiannis, Dasappaiah Ganesh Rao, Nigel Hoggard, David Surendran Sanders, and Marios Hadjivassiliou. They are variously affiliated with the Academic Department of Neurosciences, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK; the University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK; the Department of Neuroradiology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundaiton Trust, Sheffield, UK; the University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK; and the Academic Unit of Gastroenterology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK.
    The team reviewed records of all patients that have been referred to the Sheffield Ataxia Centre who had neurophysiological and imaging data suggestive of SG and cerebellar ataxia respectively. We excluded patients with Friedreich's ataxia, a common cause of this combination. All patients were screened for genetic causes and underwent extensive investigations.
    They found 40 patients with combined cerebellar ataxia and sensory ganglionopathy. The majority of patients were initially diagnosed with cerebellar dysfunction, and about one-third were initially diagnosed with sensory ganglionopathy.
    For that one-third, the two diagnoses were made together. The average time between the two diagnoses was 6.5 ± 8.9 years, ranging from 0 up to 44 years. The most common initial symptom was unsteadiness, in 77.5% of patients, followed by patchy sensory loss in 17.5%, and peripheral neuropathic pain in 5%.
    Nineteen patients had gluten sensitivity, of whom 3 patients had biopsy proven celiac disease. Other abnormal immunological tests were present in another 15 patients. Six patients had malignancy, which was diagnosed within 5 years of the neurological symptoms. Only 3 patients were classified as having a truly idiopathic combination of cerebellar ataxia with sensory ganglionopathy.
    This study shows that immune pathogenesis plays a significant role in patients with the unusual combination of cerebellar ataxia and sensory ganglionopathy.
    Source:
    Cerebellum & Ataxias 20174:20

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