Joseph Murray, M.D., discusses a recent article published in BMC Neurology that found patients who had sustained head trauma were at a slightly increased risk for celiac disease in the year following their injury.
The authors of the study hypothesized that perhaps:
- The head trauma released an enzyme, transglutaminase TG6, which set-up a reaction of the immune system against it, which then bled over to cause a reaction like celiac disease. TG6 is very similar to TG2, an antigen that's recognized in celiac disease patients.
- The head trauma is what led the patient to seek medical attention initially, and that visit increased the likelihood of a diagnosis of celiac diagnosis.
- Since celiac disease can affect balance, these patients had an increased likelihood of a fall that could cause head trauma. That being said, the causes of the head trauma were not identified for this study and would have to be considered as part of a future study.
Dr. Murray is a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and celiac disease expert.