A quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Review International is quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

Winter, 2021 | Number 1, Volume 35

Autism rates elevated in celiac disease

Rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and several other disorders that are often comorbid with ASD are elevated in individuals with celiac disease, according to a recent study. 

In celiac disease, an immune system reaction occurs when individuals eat gluten, a protein in wheat and a number of other grains. Symptoms include digestive problems, fatigue, and weight loss. 

Motasem Alkhayyat and colleagues analyzed data collected from 360 hospitals in the United States. Of the approximately 37,500,000 patients included in the database, 112,340 were diagnosed with celiac disease. The researchers say that compared to patients without celiac disease, those with the condition were nearly five times as likely to have ASD. In addition, they were more likely to have a diagnosis of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, or eating disorders. The researchers conclude that doctors caring for patients with celiac disease need to be aware of these common comorbidities and ensure that they are properly diagnosed and treated.


“Epidemiology and risk of psychiatric disorders among celiac disease patients: a population-based national study,” Motasem Alkhayyat, Thabet Qapaja, Manik Aggarwal, Ashraf Almomani, Mohammad Abureesh, Omaymah Al-Otoom, Mohammad Zmaili, Emad Mansoor, and Mohannad Abou Saleh, Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, February 8, 2021 (online ahead of print publication). Address: Motasem Alkhayyat, [email protected].