Intolerance may Lead to Schizophrenia
February 23, 2004
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A history of gluten intolerance, a hereditary
disease that affects thousands of Americans, appears to be a risk
factor for schizophrenia, according to a new study.
identified nearly 8,000 people over age 15 who were admitted to
a Danish psychiatric unit with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. They
examined known risk factors such as socioeconomic class, urban
residence, and family history of schizophrenia, as well as untested
risk factors such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Based on prior scientific literature, the researchers also included
celiac disease -- a chronic hereditary intestinal disorder that
is characterized by an inability to absorb gluten, a protein found
in wheat, rye, barley and oats.
For this study, only
celiac disease occurring before onset of schizophrenia was considered.
Most people, however, live with celiac disease for years without
getting sick. The tendency for it is inherited from parents, and
usually something like severe stress, physical injury, infection,
childbirth, or surgery “trigger” the disease. It usually
affects Caucasians of Northern European descent.
The researchers say
this study shows a history of celiac disease is a risk factor
for schizophrenia. They say an important question to consider
is the degree to which removal of gluten from the diet will alleviate
symptoms in the small proportion of people with schizophrenia
who screen positively for celiac disease but do not show its classical
Celiac disease has
already been shown to cause other long-term health problems such
as anemia and osteoporosis. Since gluten damages the intestines,
the damage also keeps the body from absorbing nutrients, like
vitamins, calcium, protein and fat from food.
SOURCE: British Medical
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