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Free Content An Integrative Approach to Common Behavior and Learning Problems in Children: A Role for Gluten Sensitivity and MTHFR Polymorphism

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An integrative approach to chronic health problems was applied to 43 patients within a pediatric practice over a period of 24 months. Symptoms included chronic headache syndromes, abdominal symptoms, fatigue, and some with behavioral or learning problems. Among these patients were 12 children with a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) whose parents were seeking either to avoid the use of stimulant medication or seek an alternative to prescribed treatment. Evaluation included a careful nutritional/dietary history, questionnaire for symptoms of gluten sensitivity (GS), and in select cases, laboratory evaluation for thyroid function, GS, and genetic analysis for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) polymorphism.

Among the large group of children, of 15 screened for MTHFR polymorphism, 14 were positive. Of nine children with a history of ADD/ADHD, 8 were positive. Of 43 children with a history suggesting possible GS, 32 were found to have elevated antigliadin IgG antibodies. This included 10 of the 12 children with a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD. One child on stimulant treatment for ADHD was found to have laboratory evidence of hypothyroidism with tissue resistance to thyroid hormone, and thyroid function normalized and markedly elevated reverse T3 dropped substantially after discontinuation of stimulant treatment for 8 weeks.

Clinical experience here supports the idea that among children with chronic health problems that include a behavioral or learning component, consideration of possible GS, genetic polymorphism for MTHFR, and thyroid function may be appropriate.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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