Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wheat and Schizophrenia

In a comment to "Dr. Davis versus The New York Times" I quoted this study:

"A drastic reduction, if not full remission, of schizophrenic symptoms after initiation of gluten withdrawal has been noted in a variety of studies. However, this occurs only in a subset of schizophrenic patients."

I was hoping to expand this comment into a post at some point, but now I don't need to.  Today in Psychology Today, Emily Deans, a psychiatrist, writes about the topic: "Wheat and Schizophrenia".

Obviously you should read the whole thing, but just to give you a flavor:

"Anyway, there's a funny thing about schizophrenia, turns out that quite a few of the adult schizophrenics on an inpatient psychiatric unit in 1967 happened to have a major history of celiac disease (gluten/wheat intolerance) as children. As in 50-100 times the amount of celiac disease that one would expect by chance. Celiac doctors also noticed their patients were schizophrenic about 10X as often as the general population. That's a lot! In addition, epidemiological studies of Pacific Islanders and other populations showed a strong, dose-dependent relationship between grain intake and schizophrenia. The gluten-free populations had extremely rare occurrence of schizophrenia - just 2 in 65,000 versus about 1 in 100 as we have in the grain-eating West. When populations Westernized their diets (flour, sugar, and beer), schizophrenia became common. In some clinical trials, gluten made new-onset acutely ill schizophrenics much worse, but only occasional long-term patients responded to gluten restriction. The long-term sufferer has already had a lot of damage - if wheat somehow toxic to the brain, then it would be vital to stop the insult early on in the course of the disease to see improvement."

Want a bagel?

Via Jimmy Moore on Facebook.

P.S.  So I was driving home last night and listening to Robb Wolf's podcast, where he discussed Fasano's recent paper on wheat poisoning.  (Yes, I have no life.)  Robb said that a woman came up to him after one of his talks, and said she worked for some government health agency, and that her agency was of the opinion, although they could not yet prove it, that wheat is the cause of schizophrenia.  I doubt that's true, but there's clearly a pretty strong link.