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  • Jefferson Adams

    What's the Relationship Between Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity and Epilepsy?

    Jefferson Adams


    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Researchers report on rates of epilepsy in patients with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and vice versa, along with characterizing the epileptic syndromes presented by these patients.


    Caption: Image: CC--Alejandro Hernandez.

    Celiac.com 10/01/2018 - A team of researchers recently set out to establish the rates of epilepsy in patients with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and vice versa and to characterize aspects of the epileptic syndromes presented by these patients.

    The research team included Thomas Julian, Marios Hadjivassiliou, and Panagiotis Zis. They are variously affiliated with the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience University of Sheffield in Sheffield, UK; and the Academic Department of Neurosciences Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Sheffield, UK. 



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    The team conducted a systematic computer-based literature search on the PubMed database, and gathered information on rates, demographics and epilepsy phenomenology. Patients with celiac disease are nearly twice as likely to have epilepsy as the general population. Celiac disease is twice as common in epilepsy patients as in the general population. Researchers still need to do more studies to assess rates of gluten sensitivity in epilepsy patients. 

    The data indicate that the prevalence of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is higher for certain epilepsy scenarios, including childhood partial epilepsy with occipital paroxysms, adult patients with fixation off sensitivity (FOS) and those with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) with hippocampal sclerosis. 

    Epilepsy in the context of gluten-related disorders is a syndrome of celiac disease, epilepsy and cerebral calcification (CEC syndrome), which is frequently described in the literature. The good news is that gluten-free diet helps to control epilepsy in 53% of cases, either reducing seizure frequency, enabling reduced doses or even termination of anti-epileptic drugs.

    Patients with epilepsy of unknown cause should receive blood tests for markers of gluten sensitivity, and may benefit from a gluten-free diet.

    Read more at: Springer.com


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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 2,500 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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