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Bread And Pasta Could Be Damaging Your Brain

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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.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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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."

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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."

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.

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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."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

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.

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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

Topics: Food, Health

Amelia Ward
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