There are plenty of articles out there which talk about a link between celiac disease and autism. Many autistic children show a vast improvement in symptoms when they stick to a strictly gluten-free diet.
Interestingly though, a new nationwide study from Sweden claims that there is no link between celiac disease and autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
In the study, people who were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder were no more likely to be diagnosed with celiac disease than people without ASD.
Dr. Ludvigsson and his team from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute connected several Swedish databases to compare the rate of celiac diagnosis amongst people with and without ASDs. They looked at information on more than 250,000 people and found no different in the rate of ASD diagnoses amongst people with celiac disease in comparison to those without the condition.
Around 44 out of 100,000 people were diagnosed with an ASD before being diagnosed with celiac disease. In comparison, around 48 in 100,000 were diagnosed with ASD but not celiac disease.
Whilst a positive blood test in itself is not enough to diagnose celiac disease (this requires both a positive blood test and evidence of damage to the small intestine) the study did find a link between ASDs and a positive blood test. This relationship was only based on a small number of cases however, which still leaves the reason unclear. The researchers cautioned that whilst there could be a real relationship between the two, it could also simply be because doctors are over testing people with ASDs.
Some interesting research but this does not mean that a gluten-free diet doesn’t help with ASD symptoms, in fact many studies have found that it does.
“I think the next step would be for someone to carry out a well-performed study on a gluten-free diet in autism,” Ludvigsson said.
“Our study is definitive when it comes to refuting an association between celiac disease and autism, however, we can’t rule out that autism is related to other intestinal conditions that do not fulfill the traditional criteria of celiac disease,” he added.
Post authored by Laura (Gluten Free Traveller) http://glutenfreetraveller.com/