Postgrad Med J 78:393-398 doi:10.1136/pmj.78.921.393
  • Review

Neurological complications of coeliac disease

  1. D S N A Pengiran Tengah2,
  2. A J Wills2,
  3. G K T Holmes1
  1. 1Department of Gastroenterology, Derbyshire Royal Infirmary, London Road, Derby DE1 2QY, UK
  2. 2Department of Neurology
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Holmes;
  • Received 6 November 2001
  • Accepted 26 March 2002


A variety of neurological disorders have been reported in association with coeliac disease including epilepsy, ataxia, neuropathy, and myelopathy. The nature of this association is unclear and whether a specific neurological complication occurs in coeliac disease remains unproved. Malabsorption may lead to vitamin and trace element deficiencies. Therefore, patients who develop neurological dysfunction should be carefully screened for these. However, malabsorption does not satisfactorily explain the pathophysiology and clinical course of many of the associated neurological disorders. Other mechanisms proposed include altered autoimmunity, heredity, and gluten toxicity. This review attempts to summarise the literature and suggests directions for future research.