Autism Spectrum Disorder and Celiac Disease

Limited evidence exists for a link between celiac and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a review from University of Calgary, Canada.

The analysis identified 15 studies made between 1946 and 2018 examining co-occurrence of the two conditions. Four studies screened celiac patients for ASD while 12 screened ASD patients for celiac. The three largest studies showed a significant link between celiac and ASD. The rest did not support a link, but these suffered from poor study design or small size.

Experts continue to debate the importance of screening people with ASD for celiac. Any patient should be tested for celiac before launching a gluten-free diet in the hope of treating ASD symptoms. This review suggests there may be a link but emphasizes a need for further research.

Quan J, Panaccione N, King JA, et al. Association between celiac disease and autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review. Journal of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology. 2019 March. doi:10.1093/jcag/gwz006.256. 

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