THURSDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- Migraine headaches are more likely to plague people with celiac disease than those without it, according to new research.
The connection between the digestive tract and the brain has been studied in Europe, but this is the first time American researchers have linked celiac disease and other bowel problems with migraines, said study co-author Dr. Alexandra Dimitrova.
"We found significantly higher prevalence of headaches in patients with celiac disease compared to those without it," said Dimitrova, a neurology resident at the Neurological Institute at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that affects one out of every 133 people in the United States, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. People with the condition can't eat pizza, pastries and other foods that contain wheat gluten. Symptoms include stomach problems, joint pain and headaches.
Neurologic manifestations of celiac disease have been described since the 1960s, and poor coordination and subtle sensory loss are among the symptoms commonly reported, Dimitrova said.
The researchers also looked at two other related conditions. More than 1.5 million Americans have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, the most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. Both conditions inflame the lining of the intestines and can cause bouts of diarrhea, rectal bleeding and abdominal cramps, as well as pain, fever and weight loss.
For the study, Dimitrova and her colleagues surveyed more than 700 people using a four-page questionnaire. A detailed medical history was logged, which included whether a participant had been diagnosed with celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease, or had problems eating foods containing wheat. Researchers also asked about headache history. Lifestyle details --
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