Individuals with autism are no more likely to have celiac disease than those without the developmental disorder, according to findings from a large new study.
Researchers looked at health records from more than 250,000 people in Sweden, comparing several national databases of patient records to assess the prevalence of celiac disease among those with autism as compared to individuals without the developmental disorder.
They found no difference in prevalence of celiac disease between the two groups, according to findings published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
However, individuals with autism were more likely to have a positive antibody test, which is common for those with celiac disease, though in order to be diagnosed with the condition, a person must have signs of intestinal damage as well.
In individuals with celiac disease, eating gluten prompts an immune system response that can damage the small intestine. The condition is estimated to affect about 1 to 2 percent of the population.
In recent years, many parents of kids with autism have put their children on gluten-free diets hoping to improve symptoms of the developmental disorder.