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People with Celiac Disease May have Increased Schizophrenia Risk

BMJ 2004;328:438-439 (21 February)

Celiac.com 02/27/2004 – The following report is interesting, but I believe that serological studies done on those with schizophrenia would be a far better way to conduct such a study. Also, the use of such a small control group cannot accurately predict the actual incidence of schizophrenia in those with celiac disease. –Scott Adams

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According to a Danish study published in the British Medical Journal, people with celiac disease may have an increased risk of developing schizophrenia. Previous studies have also suggested an association between these two disorders. The study identified 7,997 people over age 15 who were admitted to a Danish psychiatric unit for the first time between 1981 and 1998 and were diagnosed with schizophrenia. The researchers selected 25 random controls and matched their year of birth and sex, and identified any history of celiac disease, ulcerative colitis or Crohns disease in both groups, and in their parents. A "moderately strong risk relation between coeliac disease and schizophrenia" was discovered in the data, and the researchers stress that these findings only reflect a small proportion of cases, as both disorders are rare. The prevalence of celiac disease among schizophrenics was 1.5 cases per 1,000 compared to 0.5 cases per 1,000 in the larger control group, which means that there is a three times greater risk of schizophrenia in those with celiac disease. Interestingly Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis were not associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia.

According to Dr. Eaton: More research is needed to understand the link between celiac disease and schizophrenia. The most important question is whether treatment for celiac disease, in the form of a gluten-free diet, would benefit the small proportion of individuals with schizophrenia who are genetically prone to celiac disease but have not been diagnosed with it."

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Hi Jennifer, This thread might have some information that would help you. Your doctors are pretty lame IMHO. Perhaps you can find a celiac group in your area that has local meetings for support. They might also suggest a different doctor who knows how to treat celiac patients.

All the above posts are full of good advice. What I'd like to add is, if you have coeliac disease and continue to eat gluten, you run the risk of other autoimmune diseases in the future as well as osteoporosis, malnutrition and even cancer, so even if you had no symptoms at the beginning, and may also not have any symptoms if you eat gluten (not all coeliacs do), the damage is still being done to your gut and the rest of your body, so please be aware of this.

You could possibly try calling the places in Texas and Chicago to see if they can refer you somewhere that does accept your insurance. Oh good luck to you!

Hi Jennifer and welcome CyclingLady has given you some good advice above. You want certainty and that's entirely understandable. Go back to your doctors and explain that you need to know a little more and hopefully they will engage positively with you. If they don't, then do pursue a second opinion. I just wanted to address your last paragraph quoted above. The problem with celiac, or in my case non celiac gluten sensitivity, is that it presents or doesn't present in so many different ways. It can do hidden damage which may take many years to become apparent. It can impact in ways which are incredibly difficult to recognise or isolate. I am 'lucky' in that the way that gluten impacts on me is far worse than any mental or social isolation brought upon by the diet, so motivation is easy for me, even without the certainty of a celiac diagnosis, there really is no alternative, I don't think I'd last long on a gluten diet now. But I can well understand how difficult it may be to stay honest on the diet if you don't have any symptoms to deal with. The diet can be isolating, there does become a distance between you and 'normal' people. Who would want to deal with all that if they didn't have to? If you aren't satisfied with your doctors responses and choose to go back onto gluten I suggest you find another doctor and go back into the diagnostic process and properly exclude celiac, including a scope. Otherwise you could be taking a big risk with yr long term health. You may find that this process supplies you with an answer as if your diagnosis was correct your response to the reintroduction of gluten may surprise you, or not of course! best of luck!

There is currently not any enzymes you take that will get rid of gluten, they are working on a promising one to reduce symptoms but all others out there right now are a bust and will not help you much if it all with gluten exposure, Celiac is a auto immune disease, your reacting to the proteins of gluten and it is attacking them and your own body. I do suggest a digestive enzyme if you have food issues in general to help break them down. But this will not fix gluten exposure, reduce damage from gluten, or make gluten eating safe by any means. These current ones on the market are FAD ones target at healthy people and helping them with general digesting of gluten proteins but will not help you if you have celiacs to eliminate gluten reaction symptoms.