Monday, May 11, 2009

Could gluten trigger schizophrenia?

Gluten, a protein found in grains that are used for bread and pasta, has been linked to schizophrenia and diabetes by researchers at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Iverness. While research on diabetes and gluten has been going on for some time, the link to schizophrenia is newer research for this group.

There are two separate projects being conducted, investigating the role gluten plays in the development of diabetes and schizophrenia and looking into links between the two conditions. A grant from the Schizophrenia Association of Great Britain, to the amount of 300,000 British pounds, is a large contributor to the research projects.

The researchers have found that those with schizophrenia were less likely to be able to process gluten properly, resulting in damage to healthy tissue.

Inherited genes and environmental factors are the cause of developing conditions like schizophrenia and diabetes. Researchers are testing gluten as one of these significant environmental factors. The study examines the theory that identifying at-risk people early in life, and simply limiting or avoiding gluten-rich foods in their diets, could prevent the condition from developing in these individuals. More research is being conducted to attempt to determine whether gluten is actually a trigger for schizophrenia.

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