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A study of cognitive dysfunction in coeliac disease and the impact of good adherence to a gluten-free diet

Principal Investigator: Professor Marios Hadjivassiliou, Consultant Neurologist

Institution: Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield  

Research classification: Management of coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis

Project start & duration: March 2015 (12 months plus 6 months' extension)

Grant Awarded: £22.3k

Coeliac disease is estimated to affect approximately 1% of the UK population. It is triggered by eating gluten which is found in wheat, barley and rye.  People with coeliac disease have an abnormal reaction to gluten which classically causes gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort and bloating.  However, symptoms can also involve organs other than the gut.

The researchers working on this project have 20 years of experience in research and the management of patients with coeliac disease, including patients who present with neurological problems.

This project will investigate cognitive functioning, such as memory and concentration, in a group of patients with newly diagnosed coeliac disease and a group of patients who have had coeliac disease for at least five years.

The aim of the project is to determine if people with coeliac disease experience any difficulties in cognitive function, which may not have previously been considered to be associated with coeliac disease.

It is hoped that this project will raise awareness of any cognitive dysfunction in patients with coeliac disease, including the identification of factors that may have an influence such as, duration of illness and adherence to a gluten-free diet.

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