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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Concentration Problems
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13 posts in this topic

I've read that celiac disease can be associated with neurological problems, including attention deficit type problems.

One of my children (plus myself too) has difficulty concentrating- especially things like written composition. They also have problems remembering to complete assigned tasks, get notes signed, return permission forms, etc.

There doesn't seem to be an improvement yet (almost 6 months gluten-free).

Does anyone else have similar experiences? Did things improve with the dietary changes? Does anyone know of any research studies that have been published showing attention problems in celiacs?

For myself, I always had trouble concentrating on my homework, reading text chapters, writing term papers, etc. I was only able to accomplish my work when I had a deadline and a good boost of adrenaline because there were only "X" number of hours left till the exam or the submission deadline, etc.

Suzie

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This is one of the things we noticed with DD. I always though "that's just how she is" until things improved dramatically. I can give a good example with her school's math challenge. They are given 100 addition problems to complete in 3 minutes. She would only get halfway done even though she knew the math. The first week gluten free she go about 3/4 done-maybe a coincidence. Week 2 she was short by 5-6 problems. Her 3rd week gluten free she finished it! She was so proud and the progression so quickly made me realize it was related. She is much more focused than she used to be though we still have some issues.

I set her up with a checklist for morning, afternoon and evening. Check backpack is on all 3 lists because she would leave things out, miss getting signatures, forget homework, etc. That has helped a lot. Good luck!

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This is one of the things we noticed with DD. I always though "that's just how she is" until things improved dramatically. I can give a good example with her school's math challenge. They are given 100 addition problems to complete in 3 minutes. She would only get halfway done even though she knew the math. The first week gluten free she go about 3/4 done-maybe a coincidence. Week 2 she was short by 5-6 problems. Her 3rd week gluten free she finished it! She was so proud and the progression so quickly made me realize it was related. She is much more focused than she used to be though we still have some issues.

I set her up with a checklist for morning, afternoon and evening. Check backpack is on all 3 lists because she would leave things out, miss getting signatures, forget homework, etc. That has helped a lot. Good luck!

I always thought this is how I am too, and when my son started showing similar problems in school I just thought... it must be genetic! Of course, it probably is, and could be due to celiac disease in both of us.

I didn't have problems finishing tests- there was always enough adrenaline for me to concentrate well in those types of situations- it was studying that I had trouble with.

The checklists sound like a good idea- I'll try that with my son. Thanks.

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I don't have any children but I can tell you I myself had a hard time concentrating on assignments and work things before going gluten free. Now I notice if I get glutened I tend to have a very hard time focusing on anything, even if it is a TV show. I have a daydreaming mind to begin with but if I get glutened I might as well be on my own hammock somewhere. I am not very productive.

It is amazing all the things Celiac can do to people. Everyone is different, all experiences are different. Amazing.

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I really had problems with concentration and memory. I worked at a school and the director told the teacher that I was working with that I was a "slow processor" I felt like I had ADHD(my son actually has it) but I knew I didn't. School had always come easily to me, but I started to think "is this how he feels?" When I was at my worst, healthwise right before I went gluten-free, I was sitting in the psychlogists office listening to her go over the very technical and detailed report evaluating my son for ADHD, I nearly blacked out. Maybe black out is not the best term to use. It's hard to explain how I felt but it's like when you are sitting somewhere and almost nod off to sleep and your head jerks a little. I understood it but it took every ounce of my energy and concentration. I realized something was wrong. I also had a hard time reading certain books that I had read before. They were way over my head. I was a literature major. I don't feel like I'm back to 100% yet. Maybe age is catching up to me too :lol: but I am much improved and enjoying lots of books again and able to concentrate enough to do some research on Ds's ADHD. we don't know yet if he has celiac disease. He will be tested.

After my experience I can EASILY see how a child with celiac disease could be labeled with attention deficit problems.

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Ds(9) has a learning disability which is made worse by gluten. When gluten was removed from his diet last March his school work improved somewhat. His anxiety was reduced. However when dairy was removed from his diet in Febuary there was a very marked improvement. His disability is a processing speed problem. But I have read else where that it can take up to 2 years for the effects of gluten to wear off.

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FeedIndy... your name cracks me up! My cat is named "Indy" and I think he is constantly saying "FeedIndy".

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Hello Suzie,

I have a 13 yr. old daughter, and my quest now is to help also with her concentration.

I'm looking at Non-celiacs gluten sensitivity right now. Her behavior is a huge concern to me, and I feel that it's diet related. She tested negative to celiacs and also had a scope that came out negative.

The biggest break-through was to have a fructose test. She is highly intolerant to fructose and sugar.

I'd be curious to hear more about your childs behavior. My daughter will get to the point that there is NO getting through to her, a disconnect. When it gets confronted, she gets extremely agitated, over dramatic, and it becomes more physical where she's hurting all over. The sooner she goes to sleep the better. That behavior has been curtailed when we are on a stict diet.

Before I go on, I'd like to see if we're both dealing with the same sort of issue. I'm all over the internet trying to figure this out as her dr. doesn't seem to understand the same thing I do about my daughters health/behavior.

Thanks! - Valarie

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I still have a lot of difficulty with concentration, especially if I get glutened. It goes farther than brainfog. Even after being gluten-free it hasnt made much of a difference for me. i've only had Celiac for 4 years, and have had the concentration problems since.

I can forget where I placed things, can forget to phone people, it makes homework and tests very hard, sometimes I can forget something I had just read over, etc etc etc. Thankfully this year I've been allowed time and a half on exams!

~ lisa ~

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Hello Suzie,

I have a 13 yr. old daughter, and my quest now is to help also with her concentration.

I'm looking at Non-celiacs gluten sensitivity right now. Her behavior is a huge concern to me, and I feel that it's diet related. She tested negative to celiacs and also had a scope that came out negative.

The biggest break-through was to have a fructose test. She is highly intolerant to fructose and sugar.

I'd be curious to hear more about your childs behavior. My daughter will get to the point that there is NO getting through to her, a disconnect. When it gets confronted, she gets extremely agitated, over dramatic, and it becomes more physical where she's hurting all over. The sooner she goes to sleep the better. That behavior has been curtailed when we are on a stict diet.

Before I go on, I'd like to see if we're both dealing with the same sort of issue. I'm all over the internet trying to figure this out as her dr. doesn't seem to understand the same thing I do about my daughters health/behavior.

Thanks! - Valarie

Valerie,

My 9 yr old had 1 pos blood test for celiac and 1 neg blood test (both were done before he went gluten free and his total serum IgA was normal). The endoscopy/biopsy was positive for celiac.

He's having trouble with things if he has to make a written response to a question, especially if he needs to write more than 1 or 2 sentences. Making up a story or writing a paragraph is very difficult. He just can't even get started. The other children in his class will write 1-2 pages when he has maybe gotten 1/4 to 1/2 a page.

He also has trouble remembering to get things signed, remembering to put his homework into his backpack, remembering to give us newsletters, etc.

I just found a new study (from Nov 2006) in the Journal of Attention Disorders that found ADHD-type symptoms are common in celiacs and that things often improve after 6 months on a gluten-free diet. Symptoms which they found improvements in were: paying attention to details, sustaining attention, finishing work, fidgeting, etc.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.f...l=pubmed_docsum

There is also an interesting paper from Australia about specific learning difficulties and attention problems, with an interesting section on diet (this paper was a Submission to the Legislative Council of NSW, Standing Committee on Social Issues, 2001):

http://home.iprimus.com.au/rboon/EarlyInte...tionInquiry.htm

My child has been gluten-free for about 5 1/2 months. So I'm wondering if the gluten-free diet will be enough, or if we'll need to try dairy elimination, or something else.

What is the fructose test?

Suzie

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Suzie,

Thank you for posting those links. I haven't gotten through all of it but it is helpful to me(for my son). As far as celiac disease and concentration goes, In my experience, it takes time. I'll be gluten-free 1 year in July and haven't been glutened in a long time. Refer to my previous post for progress. I did improve alot at 6 months but I knew what I had come from so it was a big improvement to me but to someone else it might not have seemed as significant. It may take more time for your son. I used to do alot of tutoring and it can take alot of energy and concentration to master the skill of writing at that age. Sometimes too I think there's an element of fatigue that interferes with my concentration as well. The healing process is strange for me, I'll really struggle with something, like fatigue, for a while, a month or two, then suddenly impove and maintain the improvement and then it's a new struggle, followed by a sudden improvement. It may be with your son that it seems like he's not getting better and then something might suddenly click. Or not. Everyone's different. It' s wise to be aware of other potential problems but keep open to the possiblilty of healing as well. I'm a mom so I know how we worry about our kids.

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Thanks missy'smom ;)

Dh thinks everything is fine, but I worry. Part of being a mom.

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Well, I have a slightly different suggestion, obvously you know your child and I have only read a few posts but here's my 2 cents. Is your child highly creative/creativly gifted? I am and my daughter is and boy do we have a hard time keeping on task. It's not that we don't want to, it's just that we are right brained-and have a lot of ideas. Our brains think up so many possibilities for every situation that it's hard for us not to get lost in them. Train thoughts often derail in tangent land and all hope for productivity is lost.

I recently went to a conference where I learned about child development and how children learn and was given this:

Characteristics of the Creativly Gifted from the National Foundation for Gifted and Creative Children

1. High Sensitivity

2. Excessive ammounts of energy

3. Bores Easily and may appear to have a short attention span

4. Requires emotionally stable and secure adults around him/her

5. Will resist athority if not democratically oriented

6. Have prefered ways of learning; particularly in reading and math

7. May become easily frustrated because of his/her big ideas and not having the resourses or people to assist him/her in carrying these tasks to fruition.

8. Learns from an exploritory level and resistes rote memory and just being a listener.

9. Cannot sit still unless absorbed in something of his/her own interest.

10. If they experiance failure early, may give up and develop permanant learning blocks.

BTW, I also believe that highly creative people lack the ability to spell correctly so don't grade me :P

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