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Is Celiac Disease related to Autism?

Important Points:

  • Celiac
  • Autism
  • Gastrointestinal

Is Celiac Disease related to Autism?

With the development of a better understanding of the relationship between the brain and gut found in our body, it is not surprising that conditions affecting both areas are related. In a new study done by the Celiac Disease Center of Columbia University, they were able to find a link between two unlikely conditions. The link between a mental condition of autism and a gastrointestinal condition of celiac disease may not be as farfetched as we thought since people with autism have a tendency to present with gastrointestinal complaints. In fact, according to the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, the total prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in autism ranges from 23 to 70 percent.

In the study involving data from Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), it was found that the typical gastrointestinal symptoms observed in autism may have a strong connection with the underlying pathology of celiac disease. By measuring the antibody produced by the body in response to the presence of gluten, researchers were able to quantify that a significant number of autism cases exhibit increased immune system reactivity to its presence. 

The relationship on how the presence of increased gluten sensitivity contributes to the development of autism is not certain but data points out that a trend is indeed there. This further solidifies the concept that gastrointestinal integrity has a great impact on brain development and function and opens up a myriad of possibilities for the treatment of mental conditions.

Markers of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity in Children with Autism

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0066155

Gastrointestinal problems in children with autism, developmental delays or typical development

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3981895/