Celiac.com 10/10/2008 - A team of Finnish researchers announced that they have found high rates of undetected celiac disease in elderly populations. They have also noted that a significant number of those older people diagnosed with celiac disease showed only minor symptoms. The study team was made up of doctors A. Vilppula, P. Collin, M. M¨aki, R. Valve, M. Luostarinen, I. Krekel¨a, H. Patrikainen, K. Kaukinen, and L. Luostarinen.

Even with a wealth of new information on celiac disease from numerous recent studies, along with better testing methods, we still don’t know very much about rates of celiac disease in older people.  Motivated by that fact, the team recently set out to study the prevalence of celiac disease in elderly populations.

In theory, celiac disease should occur in the elderly at rates similar to, or lower than, those of the general population. Since current research indicates that about 1 person in a hundred has celiac disease, it seems logical to figure that rates of celiac disease among the elderly would be the same or even lower than rates for the general population.

The researchers figured that clinically silent or undiagnosed celiac disease would be rare in elderly populations, as they would be likely to develop obvious symptoms. But the team was surprised to find that rates of celiac disease among the elderly are more than double those of the general population.
   
They looked at 2,815 individuals between the ages of 52–74. They took blood samples from everyone and isolated people who showed signs of clinical celiac disease. They then screened the samples for IgA tissue transglutaminase antibodies. Subjects with positive