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Celiac Disease And Neurological Disorders

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About 2 months ago, I started a "gluten challenge" after having been on a gluten free diet for almost 2 years. For the first 2 months I didn't notice any symptoms and was shocked that I felt absolutely fine eating gluten. I still haven't gotten any gastrointestinal symptoms that I had previously had when eating gluten.

A little over a week ago, I got a really bad pain in one part of my head and collapsed. Afterwards, I was really dizzy and still had the bad head pain. I went to the hospital and they didn't know what happened so the next day I visited my neurologist. They did an MRI of my brain and found that in the spot that I had the sudden attack of head pain there was a small white lesion. (I had an MRI of my brain 2 years ago and this lesion had not been present)

I have still been so dizzy that I find it quite difficult to do anything. I also now have gotten mouth ulcers throughout my entire mouth which I used to get when I ate gluten.

Thinking back over the last 2 months, I did get a yeast infection which I know has been a symptom of celiac disease.

Has anyone had any similar neurological problems with Celiac Disease or know anything about them?

thanks.

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Celiac.com Sponsor (A8):

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Here is an article from here on celiac.com about lesions. Hope that helps

-Jessica :rolleyes:

Brain White-Matter Lesions are Common in Celiac Disease 

PEDIATRICS Vol. 108 No. 2 August 2001, p. e21

Kieslich M, Errazuriz G, Posselt HG, Moeller-Hartmann W, Zanella F, Boehles H.

Departments of Pediatrics, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany.

Celiac.com 08/24/2001 - It is well known that celiac disease causes destruction of the villi in the small intestine that results in malabsorption of nutrients in affected individuals. There is solid evidence that additional neurological complications can result, such as epilepsy, "possibly associated with occipital calcifications or folate deficiency and cerebellar ataxia." An increase in brain white-matter lesions has been reported in patients with Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis, but until now, not in patients with celiac disease. A recent study published in the August 2, 2001 issue of Pediatrics has now demonstrated a similar increase of these lesions in patients with celiac disease.

The study was carried out by Dr. Kieslich and colleagues of the Departments of Pediatrics, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany, on 75 biopsy-proven celiac disease patients who were on a gluten-free diet. Most of the patients in the study were between 2.8 and 24.2 years old, and the mean age was 11.6 years. All of the patients underwent "prospectively clinical neurologic examinations, laboratory investigations, electroencephalography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging." According to the study the mean period of gluten exposure was 2.4 years, although it was likely longer as recent studies have shown that many celiacs are asymptomatic for many years before damage occurs that is severe enough to cause obvious symptoms.

The researchers found that ten of the patients had neurological manifestations such as "febrile seizures, single generalized seizures, mild ataxia, and muscular hypotonia with retarded motor development," although no folate deficiencies were found. Further, the hippocampal regions appeared normal, and no cerebral calcifications were found, however, the MRI results showed "unilateral and bilateral T2-hyperintensive white-matter lesions in 15 patients (20%)." According to the research, there does not appear to be a relationship "between these lesions and dietary compliance or neurologic or electroencephalographic abnormalities."

The researchers conclude that "focal white-matter lesions in the brain may represent an extra-intestinal manifestation of celiac disease." They theorize that the lesions may be the result of a decreased blood supply caused by the constriction or obstruction of blood vessels due to inflammation, or caused by the destruction of the nerve fiber due to inflammation. Further, children with white-matter lesions, even if they do not have intestinal symptoms, should be tested for celiac disease. Last, more research needs to be done on people celiac disease of all ages to develop a proper predictive value, and to discover the exact cause of the lesions.

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Yes, What they found on your MRI is called, and I kid you not, UBOs - Unidentified Bright Objects. I was sent to a neuro for ataxia, (feeling off balance), peripherial neuropathy and what they thought were migraines. They found the UBOs, three of them, but said they didn't know what they were from and then said I was depressed! In Europe these are diagnostic for celiac! here they are 'I don know' !Anyway what you are seeing is gluten related and you need to go back to a gluten-free diet. The symptoms will resove very quickly.

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Hi -

Don't know if this is related, but the symptom that led me down the path of finding out I have celiac is a "cotton wool" spot that I had on my retina. Has anyone else had this symptom? My eye doc. says they're common in people with high blood pressure. Although my blood pressure is good (low even), I was quite anemic at the time, which I think, caused the problem.

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When I first visited the neurologist with ataxia, headaches, memory loss, and losing the use of my left side, they tested me every six months for five years because they were so certain that it was MS and they would eventually find lesions. When another doctor diagnosed me with celiac disease, the neurologist's response was literally "Duh! I haven't treated a celiac patien in 15 years, but it sure makes all your oddball symptoms make sense."

The good news is that by going gluten free, you will see many of your symptoms get better. According to the amount of damage, you may not get completely better. I will probably never fully heal the damage and am permanently disabled. Even so, I am much better than I was two years ago...as evidenced by the fact that I am able to sit at this computer and write on this board.

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I forgot to tell you what the neurologist has me on.

Exelon for the memory issues. It is an alzheimer's drug, but works well for my memory problems.

Gabitril for the muscle spasms that keep my left hand and foot curled up. Baclophen worked better but is not gluten-free. This also helps this muscle spasms that trigger loss of urine.

Other drugs for other things, but these are the neurological ones.

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hi

please refer to my earlier post regarding neuro diseases with celiac

my mother developed a condition called vasculitis through celiac disease it was nuero vasculitis she had, which is basically blood pressure but involved her having mini strokes, dont panic not major ones just lots of tiny little strokes that affected her eyesight and co-ordination at first yes after the MRI they thought it was a tumour due to the lesions on her brain, however the brain biopsy ruled out a tumour.

there is a few posts now regarding sight lose with celiac

keep me posted

x

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My husband was misdiagnosed by gastros as IBS for 26 years about; he was a raging celiac with all digestive symptoms and doctors missed it. During that time he had "migraine equivalent" (visual disturbance with bright halos around things - halos that don't exist) and "restless leg syndrome."

Now that he was diagnosed in late 2003 and went gluten-free, the restless leg has calmed down, but now he has pheripheral neuropathy in his lower legs (migraine equivalent never returned). I now feel that the migraine and restless leg stuff are celiac disease related.

Amazing how these little things when factored in give you the whole picture. But the doctor's didn't want to hear about everything at once. Perhaps if they "listened" to him, they would have "connected the dots" and he would have been diagnosed much sooner.

This also happened with my father and his pancreatic cancer. Had a GP treating him for diarrhea for months - didn't advise that he should see a gastro - although I begged him to see a gastro (stubborn man, who thought I didn't know anything as I was his kid.). This GP didn't even give celiac disease a thought either (my husband never went to this doctor).

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I find this thread to be really interesting. I have had restless legs my whole life. I never knew there was a name for that until about a year ago. My mom used to say I had "fighting feet" when she would put me to bed, and that she was always a little worried that when I got out of bed in the morning my sheets would be all bloody.

I was on Ativan (tranquilizer) for 2 years before I went on a low carb diet and I would still get the fidgety feet (as my mom called it) but they would move really slowly. It was weird! When I went on the low carb diet this improved a whole lot. I don't hardly ever do this when lying in bed now, but sitting at my desk at work or on the sofa watching tv it still happens some.

I still get migraines when I do eat gluten or other foods I'm sensitive to but not like before I went gluten free. I do wonder if I have a spot in my head though, right behind my left eye, as that is the place now I always get migraines. I can actually feel that spot sometimes, if I think about it.

I do have one of the genes associated with gluten ataxia and while I wouldn't say I have a lot of classic symptoms, I did have for four years peripheral neuropathy that my doctor finally called Raynaud's phenomenon in my left hand (though he couldn't trigger it like you should be able to with Raynaud's), I have had periods where I "lose my words" and I do go through phases of tripping over everything in sight.

Anyway, interesting stuff.

Stephanie

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My husbands movements were like that of a 90 yr old(he's forty!)

Tingling ,numbness and pain (like burning)in legs and feet.Terrible headaches that lasted for days.As the day wore on I can only describe him as' freezing up'.

He also had trouble with balance and dizzyness.

I am using the 'past tense' as hubbie is now on steriods(no response to 8 months gluten-free)

These seemed to have eased his mobility problems immensly,not to mention given him an appetite for the first time in years.

Once the course of steriods is over,it remains to be seen what symptoms will return.

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It does make me wonder. Years ago I had a brain tumor taken out, at the time they found another lesion on my brain and were sure it was MS because of other symptoms. Sure makes me wonder now....

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Curr Treat Options Neurol. 2005 Jan;7(1):43-48.

Peripheral Neuropathy and Celiac Disease.

Chin RL, Latov N.

Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, Peripheral Neuropathy Center, 635 Madison Avenue 4th Floor, New York, NY 10022, USA.

Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is one of the most frequently reported neurologic manifestations associated with celiac disease (celiac disease), a multigenetic, T-cell-mediated autoimmune disorder that results from a loss of tolerance to gluten. Sensory axonal and small fiber sensory polyneuropathies are the most frequently reported PN subtypes. Multifocal motor or sensorimotor neuropathies and a more fulminant neuropathy, associated with ataxia and other neurologic manifestations, also have been reported. The effect of a gluten-free diet on celiac disease-associated PN has not been studied systematically or prospectively; nevertheless, a gluten-free diet currently is the cornerstone of therapy. Although idiopathic ataxia associated with anti-gliadin antibodies and other neurologic complications have been reported to respond to this diet; there is data that indicate that neurologic manifestations may develop or persist, independent of gluten exposure. There is evidence to suggest that inflammatory processes may be involved. Immunomodulatory agents (such as intravenous immunoglobulin or infliximab), described to be beneficial in the treatment of refractory celiac disease or celiac disease-associated ataxia, may have a role in the management of celiac disease-associated PN.

PMID: 15610706 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2004 Dec;62(4):969-72. Epub 2004 Dec 15.

Neurological manifestations of celiac disease.

Siqueira Neto JI, Costa AC, Magalhaes FG, Silva GS.

Department of Internal Medicine, Federal University of Ceara, Fortaleza, CE, Brazil.

Celiac disease (celiac disease/ Nontropicalsprue, gluten-sensitive enteropathy) is a malabsortive condition in which an allergic reaction to the cereal grain-protein gluten (present in wheat, rye and barley) causes small intestine mucosal injury. The onset is in the first four decades of life, with a female to male ratio of 2:1. It may be associated with a wide spectrum of neurological manifestations including cerebellar ataxia, epileptic seizures, dementia, neuropathy, myopathy and multifocal leucoencephalopathy. We report three patients with neurological manifestations related with celiac disease: one with cerebellar ataxia, one with epilepsy and one with cognitive impairment. The diagnosis of celiac disease was confirmed by serologic tests (antiendomysial and antigliadin antibodies) and biopsy of the small intestine. In two patients the neurological symptoms preceded the gastrointestinal abnormalities and in all of them gluten restriction failed to improve the neurological disability. CONCLUSION: celiac disease should be ruled out in the differential diagnosis of neurological dysfunction of unknown cause, including ataxia, epilepsy and dementia. A gluten free diet, the mainstay of treatment, failed to improve the neurological disability.

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