Abstract

Celiac Disease in Children: An Association With Drug-Resistant Epilepsy

Pediatr Neurol. 2021 Apr 20;120:12-17. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2021.03.003.Online ahead of print.

Shanna Swartwood 1, Jacob Wilkes 2, Joshua L Bonkowsky 3, Cristina C Trandafir 4

 
     

Author information

  • 1Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • 2Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • 3Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah; Brain and Spine Center, Primary Children's Hospital, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • 4Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah; Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas. Electronic address: Cristina.Trandafir@bcm.edu.

Abstract

Background: Neurological manifestations are commonly reported in patients with celiac disease (CD). We aimed to characterize epilepsy features in a pediatric population with CD and the effect of a gluten-free diet (GFD) on seizure burden.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed on pediatric patients treated at the University of Utah and Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, with both epilepsy and CD and compared with a control group with epilepsy only.

Results: We identified 56 patients with epilepsy and biopsy-confirmed CD (n = 36, 64%) or elevated tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTG-Ab) without biopsy-confirmed CD (n = 20, 36%). Age- and gender-matched controls were selected from patients with epilepsy only (n = 168). Patients with biopsy-proven CD or positive tTG-Ab had high percentage of drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) compared with the control group (P < 0.05). Age at seizure onset preceded the diagnosis of CD on average by 5.9 years for patients with DRE (P < 0.01) compared with 2.2 years for those with drug-responsive epilepsy. Adhering to a GFD reduced seizure frequency or resulted in weaning dosage or weaning off of one or more antiseizure medications in a majority of patients with DRE.

Conclusions: DRE was more prevalent in pediatric patients with biopsy-confirmed CD and positive tTG-Ab compared with the control group (which included childhood epilepsy syndromes), but comparable with the prevalence of DRE in the general population. Adherence to a GFD in combination with antiseizure medications appears to reduce seizure burden for those with CD and DRE.

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