DOCTORS say bread and pasta could be damaging some people’s BRAINS.
A bad reaction to gluten could be causing some people spells of dizziness and making them extra clumsy.
The condition is called gluten ataxia and happens when your immune system reacts badly to gluten, which is found in foods like bread, pasta, cereal and even beer, and ATTACKS parts of the brain.
In the most serious of cases, some patients can suffer stroke-like symptoms such as difficulty walking and talking and even paralysis.
And if left untreated, it can cause permanent brain damage.
One sufferer of the rarely-spotted condition, mum-of-one Lorraine from South Yorks said it made her feel like she was “losing my mind”.
The 65-year-old’s symptoms were so bad she had to use two walking sticks to get around.
Baffled doctors struggled to figure out what was wrong with her and the bizarre condition is often mistaken for other, more well-known afflictions.
She told The Mail on Sunday: “When I first went to my GP in 2008, I was told it was menopause.
“I was referred to a neurologist, who did tests for a suspected stroke but they came back normal.”
But as it got progressively worse, Lorraine was eventually referred to a Neurologist.
What is gluten and which foods contain it?
GLUTEN is a protein that can be found in three different types of cereal: wheat, barley and rye.
Many items in the carbohydrate food group will contain the above substance, including:
- breakfast cereal
- many types of bread
- certain sauces
- some ready meals
Professor Marios Hadjivassiliou at the Shefflied Ataxia Centre was able to diagnose Lorraine and prescribe the simple treatment – a gluten free diet.
Sadly, Lorraine has been left with life-long affects like slurred speech – but she can now walk for the first time without her sticks, she said.
The little-known condition is closely linked to coeliac disease, with sufferers 16 times more likely to develop gluten ataxia.
It’s thought the two conditions are caused by the same genetic fault.
Prof Hadjivassiliou, who opened the centre dedicated to the condition 20 years ago, has treated more than 600 patients.
He said the main issue is that patients are referred to him as a last resort, by which time permeant damage has been done in some cases – which is especially frustrating when the solution is as simple as a switch in diet.
But along with other scientists in Sheffield, the doc has developed a new groundbreaking test that can diagnose a patient as soon as possible.
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The TG6 test has been used in trials at the centre over the past year and could soon be available across the NHS.
It is able to provide a diagnosis within minutes.
Coeliac UK is currently fundraising to supply the test to everyone in the UK experiencing symptoms of ataxia.