When Gluten is a Menace

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Can a piece of bread destroy your brain? Believe it or not, it’s possible if you have the condition called celiac. For some celiac sufferers, eating foods like bread that contain gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye) causes an autoimmune reaction that destroys nerve tissue and brain cells. The main defense against this destruction: eating a gluten-free diet.

Deteriorating Memory

In 2007, I was on the brink of full-blown dementia, suffering very serious (and seemingly inexplicable) cognitive and memory difficulties. After taking part in a conversation in the morning, I would have no memory of it by the afternoon. Driving became increasingly difficult. Writing and editing? Fuhgeddaboutit. And when my son interrupted me one evening to ask why I was telling him a story I had just told him two minutes before (and which I had no memory of doing), I knew I was in serious trouble.

I couldn’t understand why a brain fog had enveloped me so unrelentingly.

Now, about a year before, without paying it too much attention, I had read about a study at the Mayo Clinic that found that folks with celiac who were suffering cognitive decline improved on a gluten-free diet. Continue reading