Researchers say that if a toddler comes from a family that has a history of celiac disease, if it displays behavioral issues like aggression, sleeping trouble, anxiety and others, then it will be time for a celiac test.

Mothers of kids from families who had celiac disease reported seeing more negative psychological symptoms in their children than mothers who had kids who came from families without a history of celiac disease. This was in a study that was done on three to four year old kids to determine who was at higher risk of getting celiac disease.

Dr. Daniel Agardh from Malmo University in Sweden, who was also the lead author for the research group said the first study was conducted to find out whether children who have celiac disease display psychological symptoms.

What is Celiac disease?

This is condition is triggered by eating gluten, or foods with gluten. It is an autoimmune condition that affects the small intestines. Gluten is the substance present in wheat, rye and barley that makes the foods made from these products sticky. The most visible symptoms of gastrointestinal infection include loose stool, cramps and other stomach problems.

People that suffer from celiac disease autoimmunity also test positive for tissue transglutaminase auto antibodies, also referred to as tTGA.

In children, celiac disease will most be manifested by symptoms such as sleeping issues, attention deficit, depression and cognitive impairment.

While the past studies had been used to find out whether parents whose children had tested positive for CDA had been specifically to show whether these mothers reported any psychological problems in their children, this recent study was carried out with a different idea. It was to determine what psychological problems were reported by mothers of children even before they knew that the children had CDA.

The scope and the results of the study

With more than 4000 children involved in the study and from different countries like Germany, Finland, Sweden and the USA, this was international study. It was carried out to determine the environmental causes that could trigger celiac disease and diabetes type 1 in children.

Enrolled at the age of infancy into the program, the children were supposed to be taken to clinic after every four months until they were four years old. After that, they would be required to be taken to clinic two times a year until they got to 15 years of age. After attaining two years of age, the children were examined for tTGA antibodies once every year.

Parents had to fill a questionnaire regarding when their children were between 3 and 4 and again when they go to between 4 and 5 years old. Researchers also ascertained from the parents that the children were on a gluten-free diet.

By the time the children got to 3.5 years old, 66 of the 4000 participants tested positive for CDA. However, at the time, their parents did not know of this diagnosis. At the age of 4.5 years, there were 40 children who had tested positive but their parents had not known about it. At the age of 3 years, 440 children had tested CDA positive whose parents were aware.

From the mothers who did not know that their children were CDA positive, they did report more psychosocial problems than those who already knew. This was in comparison to the parents of the kids who did not have CDA.

At 4.5 years of age, there was literally no difference in psychological problems among the children of parents who knew or did not know that their kids had CDA.

So what did the study establish? Before they became more verbal, younger children were more likely going to exhibit strange behavior because of the physical symptoms of CDA. Older children exhibited less behavior in regard to this. It was also established that a mother with CPR training were more likely to concentrate on overcoming the physical symptoms and were thus less likely to report the psychosocial issues.

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