• Addison disease in patients treated with glucocorticoid therapy.

      Cronin, C C; Callaghan, N; Kearney, P J; Murnaghan, D J; Shanahan, F; Department of Medicine, Cork University Hospital, Ireland. (2012-02-03)
      Acute adrenal crisis in patients with unrecognized chronic adrenocortical failure is difficult to diagnose and potentially fatal. We describe 2 patients with acute adrenal crisis whose diagnoses were hindered because of concomitant glucocorticoid treatment. Acute adrenal insufficiency is primarily a state of mineralocorticoid deficiency. Prednisolone and prednisone, the most frequently prescribed anti-inflammatory corticosteroid agents, have minimal mineralocorticoid activity. Several conditions that may be treated with pharmacological glucocorticoids are associated with an increased risk of Addison disease. An acute adrenal crisis, against which concurrent glucocorticoid therapy does not confer adequate protection, may develop in such patients.
    • Coeliac disease and epilepsy.

      Cronin, C C; Jackson, L M; Feighery, C; Shanahan, F; Abuzakouk, M; Ryder, D Q; Whelton, M; Callaghan, N; Department of Medicine, Cork University Hospital, Ireland. (2012-02-03)
      Whether there is an association between coeliac disease and epilepsy is uncertain. Recently, a syndrome of coeliac disease, occipital lobe epilepsy and cerebral calcification has been described, mostly in Italy. We measured the prevalence of coeliac disease in patients attending a seizure clinic, and investigated whether cerebral calcification occurred in patients with both coeliac disease and epilepsy. Screening for coeliac disease was by IgA endomysial antibody, measured by indirect immunofluorescence using sections of human umbilical cord. Of 177 patients screened, four patients were positive. All had small-bowel histology typical of coeliac disease. The overall frequency of coeliac disease in this mixed patient sample was 1 in 44. In a control group of 488 pregnant patients, two serum samples were positive (1 in 244). Sixteen patients with both coeliac disease and epilepsy, who had previously attended this hospital, were identified. No patient had cerebral calcification on CT scanning. Coeliac disease appears to occur with increased frequency in patients with epilepsy, and a high index of suspicion should be maintained. Cerebral calcification is not a feature of our patients with epilepsy and coeliac disease, and may be an ethnically-or geographically-restricted finding.