The neurology of coeliac disease in childhood: what is the evidence? A systematic review and meta-analysis
Article first published online: 19 MAR 2010
© The Authors. Journal compilation © Mac Keith Press 2010
Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology
Volume 52, Issue 8, pages 700–707, August 2010
How to Cite
LIONETTI, E., FRANCAVILLA, R., PAVONE, P., PAVONE, L., FRANCAVILLA, T., PULVIRENTI, A., GIUGNO, R. and RUGGIERI, M. (2010), The neurology of coeliac disease in childhood: what is the evidence? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 52: 700–707. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2010.03647.x
- Issue published online: 8 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 19 MAR 2010
- PUBLICATION DATA Accepted for publication 21st December 2009. Published online.
Aim The aim of this article was to review and conduct a meta-analysis of the paediatric literature on the neurology of coeliac disease.
Method We conducted a review of paediatric studies published in English assessing neurological illness in coeliac disease identified through a MEDLINE search (1950–2009). Calculation of computed relative risk, odds ratio, and risk difference was performed using the fixed effect method if applicable.
Results Fifteen studies were analysed (11 772 participants). The meta-analysis showed that (1) the relative risk of epilepsy in individuals with coeliac disease, and of coeliac disease in individuals with epilepsy, compared with the general population, was 2.1 and 1.7, respectively, and the risk difference was close to zero, indicating that it was probably a chance association; and (2) the relative risk of headache in individuals with the disease compared with comparison groups was 3.2. In two studies, cerebellar ataxia was documented in 2.7 to 5.4% of participants; in two further studies, the risk of cerebellar dysfunction was zero. Two studies found an association between coeliac disease and peripheral neuropathy. Brain white matter lesions were recorded in two other studies. An association between autism and coeliac disease is disputed.
Interpretation Children with coeliac disease are at risk of developing neurological complications, but the risk is lower than in adulthood. The discrepancy might be due to short disease duration, early elimination of gluten from the diet, stricter adherence to diet, or different susceptibility to immune-mediated disorders.