Friday, 10 February 2017

The Bhakarwadis and Schizophrenia story.

I wrote this post, munching on these scrumptious Gluten-free Bhakarwadi's hence the title of the post. Ah, yes they were mostly organic too- except for a few spices. Now for the Schizophrenia story, here we go-

Francis Curtis Dohan, was an American research physician and endocrinologist and was a flight surgeon, for the US army Air Corps during the second world war. After the war, Dohan returned back to civilian life and published many scientific articles. The contribution that he is remembered best for however came in 1966 when he published a pathbreaking study in ‘The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’
Dohan, looked at the number of women admitted to the mental hospitals in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Canada and the United States before and after World War II and compared it with the figures of wheat and rye consumed during those two periods. He found a significant correlation.

As you can see in the image, as the world consumption of Gluten decreased, so did the worldwide rate of first-time admission to psychiatric institutions (1).
However, those were the days when the public was still debating if cigarette smoking was harmful as research was showing it to be and Dohan’s paper did not cut much ice.

This was also the time when big pharma’s started rolling out Dopamine blockers (2) to ameliorate the symptoms. Soon the study of schizophrenia became a study of the brain and the rest of the body was gutted out.

A few study’s meanwhile did point out that there was a smoking gun (3). But it mostly remained within a few obscure research papers. Recently however a spate of research papers showing a close co-relation between Gluten and brain disorders have emerged and are making any medical practitioners relook at their textbooks (5).

One such interesting paper was published in ‘The American Journal of Psychiatry’ which linked anti-gliadin (a component of gluten) antibodies in mothers, to the risk of schizophrenia in their children (4).  The research, of course, needs a bigger follow-up study, but it does indicate that a mother can potentially put her child at risk, by consuming gluten containing food.

So, can’t someone tested positive for celiac disease and not everyone, stay off gluten- It turns out that schizophrenics tended to have a lot of anti-wheat antibodies in their systems, but these antibodies are nearly entirely different from the ones that people with celiac disease have. That means that the usual test for gluten issues, the tests for celiac, wouldn't come up positive in schizophrenics, even though they have unusual immune reactions to wheat. This was published in a 2010 study and is another indication that testing for gluten is just not enough (6).

There is no single cause of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia isn't even a single disorder, but rather a variety of disorders with similar enough symptoms to be lumped together. But what is pretty much emerging out today is that Gluten is one such cause and going off Gluten has a potential to help someone already diagnosed with Schizophrenia.(8)

Today treatments do not require doctors to recommend a gluten-free diet for patients with Schizophrenia, but that will defiantly change one day. Meanwhile ending it with a quote from Dr. Emily Deans "A gluten-free diet is safe and doesn't have side effects - I don't see a good argument against giving it a try for anyone with schizophrenia who is willing to give it a go, at least for three months. The worst thing that happens is you find you are not one of the gluten-sensitive schizophrenics, and you've gone without bread and pasta for a little while. The best thing that happens is that your symptoms get better, possibly quite a lot better."(7)

Meanwhile for the rest of us, whether eating gluten containing food is a risk worth taking, is a choice we make- hence the Gluten-free Bhakarwadi's .




3. a. Wheat gluten as a pathogenic factor in schizophrenia. 1976
b. Wheat gluten as a pathogenic factor in schizophrenia. 1984 
c. The gluten connection: the association between schizophrenia and celiac disease 2006 
d. Prevalence of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity in the United States clinical antipsychotic trials of intervention effectiveness study population.


5. a. Prevalence of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity in the United States clinical antipsychotic trials of intervention effectiveness study population. Schizophr Bull. 2011 Jan;37(1):94-100. Epub 2009 Jun 3
b. Diana Samaroo, . Novel immune response to gluten in individuals with schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2010 May;118(1-3):248-55. Epub 2009 Sep 11.
c.  A E Kalaydjian, W Eaton, N Cascella, A Fasano. The gluten connection: the association between schizophrenia and celiac disease. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2006 Feb;113(2):82-90.




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