Is There a Gluten – ALS Connection?The following is the abstract published from the American Journal of Neuroradiology…
CD is an autoimmune-mediated disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. Initial symptom presentation is variable and can include neurologic manifestations that may comprise ataxia, neuropathy, dizziness, epilepsy, and cortical calcifications rather than gastrointestinal-hindering diagnosis and management. We present a case of a young man with progressive neurologic symptoms and brain MR imaging findings worrisome for ALS. During the diagnostic work-up, endomysium antibodies were discovered, and CD was confirmed by upper gastrointestinal endoscopy with duodenal biopsies. MR imaging findings suggestive of ALS improved after gluten-free diet institution.Source: AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2010 May;31(5):880-1. Epub 2009 Nov 12.
Yes, A Connection ExistsThis group of clinicians found a strong correlation in one of their patients, and this is not the only time this connection has been made in medicine (see resources). Why is this an important connection? ALS is a terminal disease with no known cure. The medications being prescribed to treat it are not effective. The quality of life in these patients can deteriorate rapidly and they most often need 24 hour care. This case demonstrates that the hallmark signs of damage in the brain identified by MRI improved after a gluten free diet was implemented.
Gluten Induced Nerve Damage is not a New DiscoveryNeurologic diseases linked with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease were initially reported in the medical literature in 1966. The most common manifestations are ataxia, vertigo (dizziness) and neuropathy, followed by epilepsy (seizures), ALS and multiple sclerosis-like symptoms. It is thought that these conditions result from two key components:
- Gluten induced intestinal damage leading to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Secondarily, these deficiencies cause neurological pathology.
- Gluten acts as a neurotoxin and induces an autoimmune process.
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