Celiac disease and increased risk of epilepsy

By Jason Clevenger

Summary: A Swedish study of epilepsy in celiac disease patients published by a group of European researchers suggests that both men and women with celiac disease have a moderately elevated risk of developing epilepsy as compared to the general population. The researchers examined the records of over 28,000 patients with biopsy-proven celiac disease and matched them with over 143,000 patients from the general population.

The celiac disease patients were found to have a 43 percent increased risk of developing epilepsy, with roughly equal risk for men and women both before and after celiac disease diagnosis.

Conclusion: The authors conclude that the increased risk of epilepsy found in celiac patients both before and after the onset of celiac disease suggests a predisposition to the development of epilepsy rather than celiac disease being the cause of epilepsy. Epilepsy has previously been linked to the occurrence of other autoimmune diseases, which further suggests a common underlying relationship among them.


[1] “Increased risk of epilepsy in biopsy-verified celiac disease: A population-based cohort study”, J.F. Ludvigsson, F. Zingone T. Tomson, A. Ekbom, C. Ciacci., Neurology, Apr 2012, epub ahead of print.

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