A condition called cerebellar ataxia is one manifestation of wheat’s effect on the human brain. This illness usually affects adults, average age of onset 48 years, though children can be affected, too. Symptoms consist of incoordination, falling, and incontinence.
The typical situation involves a man or woman in their late 40s or early 50s who begins to experience difficulty walking a straight line, or feels like they are drifting to one side as they walk. Frequent stumbling when there is no obstacle in the way is common. This is due to degeneration of the cerebellum (visible on an MRI or CT scan of the brain), the part of the brain responsible for coordination and other basic nervous system functions. Eventually, nervous system degeneration leads to impaired control over bladder and bowel function and the sufferer begins to wet him- or herself, i.e., urinary incontinence, and eventually develop bowel incontinence. The sufferer also loses the capacity to walk safely and is confined to a walker, then a wheelchair, typically requiring institutionalization to have others manage day-to-day bodily functions.
There’s more to the effect of wheat on the human brain. Other phenomena include:
- Migraine headaches
- Seizures–-especially temporal-lobe seizures
- Myelitis–inflammation of the lining of the spinal cord
- Psychiatric disease–depression, changes in personality, even psychosis or paranoid delusions and auditory hallucinations
- Gait disorders–i.e., difficulty walking
- Impaired reflexes, e.g, in the ankles
- Gluten encephalopathy–dementia from wheat. The UK and US groups have described this condition.
Because brain tissue has limited capacity for healing and regeneration, symptoms of cerebellar ataxia and other forms of wheat-induced neurological degeneration usually improve slowly with meticulous elimination of wheat and other gluten sources. But think about it: we are talking about degeneration of the nervous system due to the foods that every “official” source of nutritional advice agrees should dominate your diet. If or when you develop grain-induced neurological conditions such as cerebellar ataxia or adult-onset seizures, most neurologists–as are most other physicians–are typically useless in drawing cause-effect connections between a component of diet and a health condition, in this case a chronic, debilitating, and eventually fatal disease from wheat and related grains.
Perhaps you’d like a diaper with that croissant?