No Link Between Autism, Celiac Disease: Study

Findings challenge previous research suggesting food allergy connection

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TUESDAY, May 1, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Autistic children are no more likely than other children to develop celiac disease, according to an Iranian study that challenges the findings of previous work.

The team analyzed blood samples from 34 autistic children and 34 children without autism. The researchers checked for two antibodies -- anti-gliadin and anti-endomysial antibodies -- used to help detect celiac disease.

In order to confirm whether they had celiac disease, biopsies of the small intestine were offered to the six children (four with autism, two without autism) who tested positive for either antibody. Biopsies on all six children were negative for celiac disease.

The researchers concluded that autistic children aren't more likely than those without autism to develop celiac disease.

"This study shows food allergies often associated with autism may have no connections to the gluten intolerance experienced by people with celiac disease," study author Dr. Samra Vazirian, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, said in a prepared statement.

The study was expected to be presented this week at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting, in Boston.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about celiac disease.

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology, news release, May 1, 2007

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