Despite cognitive effects reported by patients with celiac disease (CD) such as “brain fog,” a new study has found no increased risk of Alzheimer’s dementia in CD patients and only small increase in the risk of vascular dementia in the first year after CD diagnosis. The research appears in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Benjamin Lebwohl, MD, from the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), and colleagues reviewed data on 8,846 adults aged ≥50 with histologically proven and age- and gender-matched controls to evaluate the risk of developing dementia and CD diagnosis. In the median follow-up of 8.4 years, 4.3% of CD patients and 4.4% of matched controls were diagnosed with dementia.

An increased risk of vascular dementia in the first year after CD diagnosis was observed, but not for Alzheimer’s dementia. There was also no support for an increased risk of dementia prior to CD diagnosis.

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“We know that patients with celiac disease have a modestly increased rate of cardiovascular disease, and that patients who experience neurologic symptoms have abnormalities on MRIs that mimic vascular disease,” stated Dr. Lebwohl. However, “our findings on vascular dementia were small and may be due to chance.”

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