Gluten encephalopathy with psychiatric onset: case report

Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health. 2009 Jun 26;5:16. doi: 10.1186/1745-0179-5-16.

Abstract

Many cases of coeliac disease, a gastrointestinal autoimmune disorder caused by sensitivity to gluten, can remain in a subclinical stage or undiagnosed. In a significant proportion of cases (10-15%) gluten intolerance can be associated with central or peripheral nervous system and psychiatric disorders.A 38-year-old man was admitted as to our department an inpatient for worsening anxiety symptoms and behavioural alterations. After the addition of second generation antipsychotic to the therapeutic regimen, the patient presented neuromotor impairment with high fever, sopor, leukocytosis, raised rhabdomyolysis-related indicators. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome was strongly suspected. After worsening of his neuropsychiatric conditions, with the onset of a frontal cognitive deficit, bradykinesia and difficulty walking, dysphagia, anorexia and hypoferraemic anaemia, SPET revealed a reduction of cerebral perfusion and ENeG results were compatible with a mainly motor polyneuropathy. Extensive laboratory investigations gave positive results for anti-gliadin antibodies, and an appropriate diet led to a progressive remission of the encephalopathy.