The researchers investigated the association between celiac disease (CD), brain atrophy, and epilepsy, and reported their findings in the November issue of European Neurology.
The medical records of 900 consecutive adult patients with epilepsy diagnosis were reviewed.
The occurrence of CD in living patients with epilepsy of unknown etiology (n = 199) was investigated.
All patients without previously known CD were asked for serological screening for the disease, and the diagnosis was verified with small bowel biopsy.
The presence of occipital calcifications and brain atrophy in all available CT scans (n = 130) was evaluated.
Five of 199 cases had prior history of CD.
| CD prevalence among epileptics was 10-times greater than general population.
| European Neurology |
The prevalence of definite CD in the patients was 2.5% (5/199), which is significantly higher that the current prevalence of CD in the investigators' area (0.27%).
Antibody testing and small bowel biopsy in positive cases failed to increase prevalence of CD.
The researchers found that 11 (8.5%) patients had intracerebral calcifications and 3 of them posterior calcifications; all 11 had negative screening results for CD.
Four (80%) patients with definite CD had supratentorial brain atrophy, compared with 33 (26%) of 125 patients without CD.
Dr L. Luostarinen, of the University of Tampere, concluded on behalf of fellow authors, "Prevalence of CD was increased among patients with epilepsy of unknown etiology.
"However, the combination of CD, epilepsy and intracranial posterior calcifications was rare in Finnish adult epilepsy population."