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The Pediatric Symptom Checklist as screening tool for neurological and psychosocial problems in a paediatric cohort of patients with coeliac disease



Gaetano Terrone, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, University of Naples Federico II, Via S. Pansini 5, 80131 Naples, Italy.

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To screen for neurological and behavioural disorders in a paediatric cohort of patients with coeliac disease (CD) in order to detect possible differences related to compliance with gluten-free diet (GFD).


We recruited a cohort of 139 patients divided into three groups: A (40 patients with newly diagnosed CD), B (54 patients with CD in remission after GFD) and C (45 patients with potential CD). Patients first underwent a screening neurological visit, detecting signs associated with CD, and then were evaluated with Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC), a psychosocial screen for cognitive, emotional and behavioural problems.


In the group B as compared to group A, there was a statistically significant decrease (p < 0.05) in the incidence of chronic fatigue, headache and inattention. The same applied to patients compliant to GFD vs. non-compliant. Potential coeliacs turning into overt CD had a higher incidence of headache and inattention compared with potential coeliacs showing normal mucosa. The PSC mean score in group A was statistically higher than in group B.


Gluten-free diet had a positive impact on neuropsychiatric symptoms. We suggest the use of PSC in the routine follow-up of coeliacs in order to allow an early detection of psychosocial problems.