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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Study Shows High Instance of Polyneuropathy in Patients with Celiac Disease

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 06/08/2007 -The results of a study recently published in the Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics indicates that patients with celiac disease face a significant risk of polyneuropathy.

    Faced with inconclusive evidence of past studies linking celiac disease to various neurological conditions, doctors J. F. Ludvigsson, T. Olsson, A. Akbom, and S.M. Montgomery, set out to provide more conclusive evidence regarding the association between celiac disease and several neurological diseases. They used Cox regression to examine the risk of neurological disorders in 14,000 people who were diagnosed with celiac disease between 1964 and 2003. These patients were compared with 70,000 reference individuals matched for age, sex, calendar year and county.

    Celiac disease was associated with later polyneuropathy at a hazard ratio (HR) of 3.4; [95% CI = 2.3–5.1]. Results also showed prior polyneuropathy to be associated with subsequent celiac disease with an odds ratio of 5.4; [95% CI = 3.6–8.2). However, they found no statistically significant association between celiac disease and subsequent Huntingtons disease, hereditary ataxia, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, Parkinsons disease, or symptom ataxia.

    The actual study results are as follows:
    (HR = 0.9; 95% CI = 0.3–2.3), Parkinsons disease (HR = 1.2; 95% CI = 0.8–1.9), Alzheimers disease (HR = 1.5; 95% CI = 0.9–2.6), hereditary ataxia (HR = 1.3; 95% CI = 0.5–3.6), the symptom ataxia (HR = 1.9; 95% CI = 0.6–6.2), Huntingtons disease (HR = 1.7; 95% CI = 0.3–8.6), myasthenia gravis (HR = 0.8; 95% CI = 0.2–3.8) or spinal muscular atrophy.

    Doctors Recommend Regular Celiac Disease Screening for People with Polyneuropathy

    Because the connections between celiac disease and polyneuropathy indicate shared risks the doctors suggest that people with polyneuropathy undergo regular screening for celiac disease.

    health writer who lives in San Francisco and is a frequent author of articles for Celiac.com.

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    I was stunned when I read this article and I need more information. I was diagnosed with celiac disease 15 years ago and have progressively had painful problems with my legs and keeping a sense of balance. My neurologist has diagnosed me with "axonal polyneuropathy". The doctors seem puzzled, as I do not have diabetes. Now what???

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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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