Could Behavior Issues Be Linked to Celiac Disease?

After their session about Published Studies That May Change Your Practice, Drs. Lewis First and Alex Kemper discuss behavioral manifestations of Celiac Disease status.

Alex Kemper, MD: Celiac disease is caused by antibodies and those antibodies can cause lots of problems including potentially affecting neurons in the developing brain; and so we looked at two studies. One study that showed that celiac disease, at least at the beginning when you develop antibodies, may actually cause behavior problems at least at three and a half years of age but by four and a half years of age it looks like that goes away.

Women with celiac disease are more likely to develop anorexia nervosa, both before and after the development of the celiac disease.

Lewis First, MD: So pediatricians who are in their office should say (if a patient comes in with anorexia nervosa) you might want to think about celiac disease; or if they have celiac disease you may want to track them for anorexia.

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