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"Going to restaurants or dinner at a friend's house can pose dangers to a person with celiac disease," says said Dr. Ali Keshavarzian, vice chairman of medicine and gastroenterologist at Rush University Medical Center. "It can really impact a person's quality of life."
For most people, maintaining a gluten-free diet will stop symptoms, heal existing intestinal damage, and prevent further damage, along with potentially preventing numerous associated conditions, such as diabetes. But setting up and sticking to a gluten-free diet can be a challenge.
A team of Gastroenterologists at Rush have designed a new study to determine if mind and body techniques could help people with celiac disease adhere to the very strict diet.
"Eating even a small amount of gluten can damage the small intestine," says Dr. Ali Keshavarzian, vice chairman of medicine and gastroenterologist at Rush. "The damage will occur in anyone with the disease, including people without noticeable symptoms."
Hidden sources of gluten are sometimes additives such as modified food starch, preservatives and stabilizers made with wheat. Also, numerous corn and rice products made in factories that also make wheat products can be contaminated with wheat gluten.
"The purpose of this study is to determine whether participation in one of two mind/body courses can help patients cope with the restricted diet," says Keshavarzian. "It can be very hard and stressful for people with celiac disease to stick to a gluten-free diet."
Healing existing intestinal damage and preventing further damage means that people with celiac disease must go on a lifelong gluten-free diet. Patients must be trained by health professionals on how to understand safe and unsafe ingredient on food labels, and to spot foods containing gluten in order to make safer, more effective choices when grocery shopping or eating out.
People with celiac disease or gluten intolerance usually begin to feel better within days of starting a gluten-free diet.
The small intestine usually heals in three- to six-months in children, but can take several years in adults. A healed intestine means a person now has healthy intestinal villi that can properly absorb nutrients from food into the blood.
Patients enrolled in the study on Celiac disease and mind/body techniques at Rush will be randomly assigned to two course assignments for eight weeks.
To be eligible for the study, patients must be over 18 years of age, have received a diagnosis of celiac disease in the past four weeks or within two weeks of starting a gluten-free diet, and have not previously attempted a gluten-free diet.
Source: ScienceDaily (Jan. 11, 2010)