Bread And Pasta Could Be Damaging Your Brain
It's not new for starchy carbs to get a bad reputation, but it appears eating foods like bread and pasta could actually be damaging to your brain.
A condition called gluten ataxia can occur when the immune system responds to gluten by attacking parts of the brain.
Scientists have found that this could actually be a fairly common reaction to the gluten found in all those deliciously carb-heavy foods.
It can cause stroke-like symptoms, including difficulty with talking and walking, and - in extreme cases - paralysis.
One woman who suffered with the condition, suffered with slurred speech, shaking and balance problems for four years, before finally being diagnosed in 2012.
Speaking to MailOnline, she said: "When I first went to my GP in 2008, I was told it was menopause.
"But then when it got worse I was referred to a neurologist, who did tests for a suspected stroke but they came back normal."
Her condition got worse over the next few weeks.
She explained: "I ended up having to use two walking sticks to get around. I thought I was losing my mind - no one could understand what was happening to me."
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She was referred to a neurologist at Sheffield Ataxia Centre - Professor Marios Hadjivassiliou - who suggested she cut gluten out of her diet.
Her condition improved almost immediately.
She explained: "I was able to walk without my walking sticks for the first time in years.
"I'm a lot less unsteady or wobbly on my feet now. But because the damage was so severe, my speech will always be slurred. At least I know now it's not getting any worse."
Prof Hadjivassiliou, who has treated more than 600 gluten ataxia patients in the last 20 years, says that a gluten-free diet has helped in 80 percent of cases.
But he says another problem is that patients are being referred to him when it's too late to stop permanent damage from occurring.
He said: "Gluten ataxia destroys the cells of the cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for movement, and if this continues over a long period then the symptoms will become irreversible.
"If someone is referred to us and their cerebellum has been reduced to the size of a walnut, there's only so much a gluten-free diet can do."
He has developed a blood test to diagnose gluten ataxia in minutes, meaning treatment can begin before permanent damage is done.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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