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Schizophrenia three times as likely in celiac disease patients.

Individuals with celiac disease are more than three times as likely to develop schizophrenia than the general population and more than twice as likely as people with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis to do so, Dr. William W. Eaton and his associates reported.

Removal of dietary gluten is neither dangerous nor expensive and effectively treats celiac disease. Dr. Eaton, of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and his associates did not assess whether a gluten-free diet decreased the symptoms of schizophrenia in their study population; however, work by other investigators has shown such an effect (BMJ 328 [7437]:438-39, 2004).

The relationship between schizophrenia and celiac disease was studied in a case sample of 7,997 people who entered a Danish psychiatric facility for the first time between 1981 and 1998 with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Patients were older than 15 years at the time of their hospitalization, and the identities of their mothers were known.

Each case was matched with 25 controls who did not have schizophrenia, and shared the case patient's year of birth and sex. Danish national patients' registries were searched for cases of celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis, which is closely related to celiac disease. Registries were also searched for cases of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, which have not been linked to schizophrenia, among cases, controls, and their parents. The diagnosis of celiac disease had been made in four patients, five mothers of patients, and three fathers of patients before the psychiatric hospitalization for schizophrenia.

The relative risk for schizophrenia in someone with a history of celiac disease was 3.2 after adjustment for socioeconomic status, urban residence, and a family history of schizophrenia. When the four cases of dermatitis herpetiformis among the patients were added to the cases of celiac disease, the relative incidence of either disorder was 3.1, compared with neither disorder.

The adjusted relative risk for schizophrenia in patients with either Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis was 1.4.


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Title Annotation:Psychosomatic Medicine
Author:Kubetin, Sally Koch
Publication:Clinical Psychiatry News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2004
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