Hypothesis: Gluten causes symptoms, in both celiac disease and non-celiac gluten-sensitivity, by its adverse actions on the nervous system. Many celiac patients experience neurological symptoms, frequently associated with malfunction of the autonomic nervous system. These neurological symptoms can present in celiac patients who are well nourished.
The crucial point, however, is that gluten-sensitivity can also be associated with neurological symptoms in patients who do not have any mucosal gut damage (that is, without celiac disease).
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Gluten can cause neurological harm through a combination of cross reacting antibodies, immune complex disease and direct toxicity.
These nervous system affects include:
• Dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system,
• Cerebella ataxia [balance/coordination disorder],
• Hypotonia [reduced muscle strength/tone],
• Developmental delay,
• Learning disorders,
• Migraine, and headache.
If gluten is the putative harmful agent, then there is no requirement to invoke gut damage and nutritional deficiency to explain the myriad of the symptoms experienced by sufferers of celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity. This is called "The Gluten Syndrome."
Source: Medical Hypotheses, Apr 28, 2009. PMID: 19406584, by Ford RP. The Children's Gastroenterology and Allergy Clinic, P.O. Box 25-265, Christchurch 8144, New Zealand. [E-mail: Rodney@rodneyford.co.nz]