Researchers at UHI, the prospective University of the Highlands and Islands have been studying the role of gluten in schizophrenia and diabetes and also links between the two illnesses.
Dr Jun Wei, a senior researcher and reader in genetics, said an individual's inherited genes, together with factors from the environment in which they have lived, were now considered to be central to development of both schizophrenia and diabetes. He believes that gluten could be one such environmental factor.
More than 30% of schizophrenia sufferers have high levels of antibodies against wheat gluten in their body so he believes that a gluten-free diet might help to reduce the symptoms of this mental condition. He and his team are also investigating whether gluten could act as a trigger for schizophrenia in people who have a genetic predisposition to it. If so, a simple change in diet might prevent these diseases developing in those who had this disposition.
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First Published in June 2009
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