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Celiac and MS
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Celiac and MS

Hi, I was wondering if having Celiac can produce an abnormal MRI like the one I have.  My brother and I both had diagnosed celiac as a baby, and my whole life I have had ongoing stomach problems. I always get sick when I eat anything with wheat, but I never got tested as an adult for celiac. My MRI showed below; I did post my symptoms earlier.; Two weeks ago I developed double vision and mild facial weakness.

Numerous greater than 20 white matter lesions in the brain, including the corpus callosum. Many of these have a periventricular and typical radiating appearance of demyelinating disease. at least two of them show contrast enhancement, one in the deep white matter of the right frontal lobe as well as adjacent to the trigone of the right lateral ventricle. There are several small foci of T2 hyperintensity in the pons as well.
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867787_tn?1318939830
I'm not sure but we have a member here (saveone) who has recently been dx'd with celiac & she is a wonderful lady so I'm sure she can better answer your question. I haven't met you before so in case I missed you along the way ....welcome!! I hven't been dx'd yet but your MRI certainly sounds like one of someone with MS & you can have more than one autoimmune disease. I know I haven't been alot of help but I wish you the best. God bless you!
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you Tammy,
If based on my MRI, I definitely have MS will I need to have a spinal tap? Thanks
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi there,
Welcome to the forum.  You will love it here.
I do not know the true answer of course, but I have been looking into celiac disease and MS.  I have not been dx'd with celiac, but I think I have it. People with celiac who eat wheat cause extra anti bodies ( part of the allergic reaction) to enter the system.  It is possible that these specific antibodies are responsible for attacks on our myelin.
I am not a professional and I may not be right, but through the reading I have done as well as through discussions with my neuro, I believe that eating wheat when you are intollerant of it can cause demyelination.
I do not think having celiac disease causes MS, but if you eat wheat when you are allergic to it, you can create MS.  I hope that makes sense.  
Definately talk to your Dr about this concern.

D
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank-you Zacksmomi,
I never really though that I needed to go on a gluten free diet. I should have over the years because I get so sick, vomiting and diarrhea quite often.  Since I was diagnosed with Celiac disease as a baby, then I can only imagine the damage that I may have caused over the years. I don't know, it was a thought and I was just wondering if with celiac you can get contrast enhancement on an MRI.
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Avatar_f_tn
For what it's worth, although a different situation...

I have a severe wheat allergy and possibly celiac's (still waiting for doc on that).

I had the wheat allergy as a child, but didn't know and had horribly symptoms until 16 when I found out I was allergic to wheat and quit eating it.  One symptom I had was blinding days long migraines that I got on a weekly basis.  Yep, my life was awful for awhile.

Well, I had an MRI for the migraines when I was 16.  It was normal.  So at least in my case the wheat didn't cause anything in my brain.

I suspect I also have had celiac's based on other symptoms I have in my gastro-intenstinal symptom and I just had a capsule endoscopy to check.

However, I have eaten a gluten free diet now for years and it is so worth it.  Quit eating the wheat and switch.  You'll feel so much better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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867787_tn?1318939830
Hello again! I think some of the folks here have had to have a spinal tap to clinch a diagnosis but there are others who have gotten diagnosed with just the MRI & a history of attacks. I don't have insurance so I still don't have a diagnosis & had lesions on my MRI though not as many as you (not sure I was never told how many just that there were several). You might check out the health pages at the top, it has loads of info on various topics concerning MS & I have found it to be very informative. Again, Welcome to the MS community, we have a great, caring & knowledgable bunch of people here! If theres anything I can ever help you with please let me know!! I'll keep you in my prayers & May God bless you!
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429700_tn?1308011423
Based on just your MRI (without knowing what your symptoms are--which I presume you have neurological ones because you saw the neurologist) it sounds to me like you have a demyelinating disease.  From what my neuro said, a tell-tale sign of demyelinating diseases are the lesions in the corpus callosum.  

Because celiac disease (if that is indeed what you have) is an autoimmune disease, this predisposes you to having autoimmune diseases (MS being one).  I have a long history of autoimmune diseases in my family on my mother's side, including MS.  

Anyway, I'm off topic.  To answer your question, I think your brain lesions are related to demyelinating disease and not celiac based on past experience, but I'm not a doctor and find the human body (especially the brain) very complicated.

Deb
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648910_tn?1290666683
Hi Jenny, I don't think we have met so let me extend my welcome.  

I was dx with CD in June.  I have done a lot of online research.  CD is an autoimmune disease and as Deb said having one predisposes you to having another.  Many ppl are sx with both CD and MS.

In my research I have found several clinical studines that indicate CD can mimic MS including causing demylenation, resulting in an abnormal Brain MRI, neuropathy, ataxia, and a whole host of other neurological symptoms.  However, you wrote your MRI stated "Many of these have a periventricular and typical radiating appearance of demyelinating disease".  This describes lesions more typical to MS than CD as it appears they are talking about Dawson Fingers, at least this is my understanding.  Please remember I am in no way an expert and brain MRIs can be really complicated.

I would suggest since you were dx as a baby with CD you immediately find a gastroenterologist to f/u with.  CD can be fatal if left untreated.  It increases your risk of cancer by 3x.  The only way to treat it is to follow a life long gluten free diet.  Every time you ingest gluten damage is caused be it evident or silent.  

Several studies indicated the body recognizes gluten as a neurotoxin.  Further studies indicate that going GF will not repair the damage to the CNS but will stop the progression.

I can send you links to several of the studies if you like.  Just leave me a note or send me a PM.  If I can be of anymore help just ask.

peace, love and joy

terry
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Terry,

I have celiac and am trying to figure out if I have MS.  I can share what I have discovered and my personal experience, but I can't tell you for sure what's going on with you.

What I have read is that (a) you can't grow out of celiac disease, so if you had it as a baby, you should be on a completely GF diet now (it's not clear from your message whether you are currently on a GF diet), see a good GI dr. to figure out what to do about that issue; (b) I read in ONE place (only) that celiac can cause lesions and sx similar to MS, but that article basically said it could cause what looks exactly like MS, so it wasn't clear whether they were just blaming the MS on the CD; (c) most of what I have read says that CD can cause "gluten ataxia" which is pronounced ataxia when the pt is consuming gluten, but not other MS-like sx.

My experience: I have dx CD since January 2008.  I have been having R/R neuro sx since 2002, with a significant "episode" starting in February of 2009 (over 1 year after going GF).  Thurs far, my MRI's have been clear and no doctor I have seen thinks that my "MS-like" sx could be caused by CD.

HTH

Stephanie
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648910_tn?1290666683
Here is one article from the British Medical Journal that discuss "Gluten sensitivity as a neurological illness".  It can be found at

http://jnnp.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/72/5/560

You have to register for free access. This article also has pictures of abnormal brain MRI caused by gluten sensitivity.

I also discussed this with both my GI and my GP.  Both doctors confirmed their beliefsexperiences and that here are several clinical studies that confirm gluten can act as a neurotoxin.

That being said, I want you to remember I am only offering information and do not have any way of knowing whether a person has MS, CD or any other autoimmune disorder and that  a person can have more than one and often does.

Here is a second link from Scientific America just recently published:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=celiac-disease-insights

If you are interested in more just let me know.  I just wanted you to know my info came from reputable sites.

Have a great day
terry
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you everyone for your help.
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Avatar_m_tn
My aunt died from MS, my cousin has been diagnosed with CD, and I suspect I have it.  After being gluten free for weeks I just ate something stupid from a fast food restaurant (a flour tortilla) and the brain fog is back.... amazing that this failure of a life is from that brain fog all my life. Wow!  :)

I personally have not done any research on the MS-celiac connection, but am convinced that there is a connection. I think that my aunt died because she had celiac, which gave her MS.
Since my cousin (also on my dad's side) has celiac I think my aunt probably did too (one quarter norweigan).
She probably had few symptoms, like me, and didn't realize that her life-long brain fog was abnormal. When you've had it your whole life you just figure that you must be not getting enough sleep or anren't eating enough nutrition or protein or need a nap or are lazy/depressed etc...

Just a theory!
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