Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Gluten-free diet affecting EEG findings?

Acknowledging that a certain 'jolly' person with a beard wearing a red suit will be visiting a few homes across the globe quite soon (the only time of the year that most people would let a stranger enter their home via a chimney) I want to briefly direct your attention to the paper by Parisi and colleagues [1] talking about how in "the presence of unexplained EEG abnormalities and/or other neurological disorders/SDB [sleep disordered breathing] an atypical or silent CD [coeliac disease] should also be taken into account."
Merry Christmas.

One sentence in particular took my attention: "After 6 months of GFD [gluten-free diet] headache disappeared in 72% of children and EEG abnormalities in 78%" based on examination of a small participant group (N=19) "with a new biopsy-proven celiac disease (CD) diagnosis."

Coeliac disease (CD), gluten and EEG abnormalities is something I'm actually quite interested in. As per my previous musings, I'm not expert on the dark art that is EEG (see here) but I am interested in how EEG findings might relate to CD and in particular, the suggestion that CD might also have a neurological effect for some (see here). The idea that embarking on a gluten-free diet (the primary intervention for CD) might 'correct' unusual EEG patterns and/or their clinical signs is by no means a new one as per studies such as the one from Diaconu and colleagues [2] talking about the use of the diet and a 'favourable course' when it came to migraine and epilepsy.

Hopefully without too much speculation or controversy, the possibility that a gluten-free diet might impact on EEG issues and/or epilepsy outside of CD has also cropped up in my own research. My dabbling in the science of gluten-free diets for cases of autism (stress on 'cases' [3]) has led me to hear some individual instances where the diet seemed to accompany positive changes to the presentation of seizures in cases of autism [4]. I've talked about individual cases documented in the research literature where a gluten-free diet might have been part and parcel of seizure control in relation to autism (see here), also as a segment of the regime known as a ketogenic diet (see here). One of the studies which I think is missing from the body of research looking at dietary intervention in autism (some autism, perhaps some autism falling into that non-coeliac gluten sensitivity category) is whether impacting on 'unusual' EEG patterns might be something to look at when it comes to gluten removal...

Merry Christmas! And the usual 'best seasonal song ever' link... The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.


[1] Parisi P. et al. Role of the gluten-free diet on neurological-EEG findings and sleep disordered breathing in children with celiac disease. Seizure. 2014 Oct 6. pii: S1059-1311(14)00267-2.

[2] Diaconu G. et al. Celiac disease with neurologic manifestations in children. Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi. 2013 Jan-Mar;117(1):88-94.

[3] Whiteley P. Nutritional management of (some) autism: a case for gluten- and casein-free diets? Proc Nutr Soc. 2014 Oct 14:1-6.

[4] Whiteley P. et al. Gluten- and casein-free dietary intervention for autism spectrum conditions. Front Hum Neurosci. 2013 Jan 4;6:344.

---------- Parisi P, Pietropaoli N, Ferretti A, Nenna R, Mastrogiorgio G, Del Pozzo M, Principessa L, Bonamico M, & Villa MP (2014). Role of the gluten-free diet on neurological-EEG findings and sleep disordered breathing in children with celiac disease. Seizure PMID: 25457448