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Brain Perfusion Abnormalities Common in Untreated Celiac Disease

Dig Liver Dis. 2004 Aug;36(8):513-8.

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Celiac.com 12/11/2004 - An Italian study was carried out to determine the incidence of brain perfusion abnormalities in those with celiac disease, and whether gluten intake and associated autoimmune diseases may be considered risk factors in causing cerebral impairment. The researchers used brain single-photon emission computed tomography to examine the brains of 34 adult celiac patients--16 on a gluten-free diet, 18 on a gluten-containing diet, and 18 with other autoimmune diseases--and compared them to 10 age and sex-matched controls with normal jejunal mucosa. The researchers found that 24 out of the 34 in the study--a full 71%--had brain tomography abnormalities. The most significant brain abnormalities were found in the patients with untreated celiac disease (74%), and in those with associated autoimmune disease (69%). The abnormalities mainly affected the frontal region of the brain. The researchers conclude that brain perfusion seems common in celiac disease, but does not appear to be related to associated-autoimmunity, and the condition may be improved by a gluten-free diet.

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