Celiac.com 03/26/2010 - Mass screening studies among the general population for celiac disease show a prevalence of approximately 0.5-1.0% in adults and in children. Yet, despite the growing numbers of newly diagnosed celiac disease patients, most cases still remain undiagnosed and therefore, untreated. In part, the masses of misdiagnosed or undiagnosed  celiac disease  patients are a result of the variety of disguises  celiac disease can have. Celiac disease can manifest into a multitude of symptoms including, but by no means exclusive to, malabsorption syndrome, diarrhea, anemia, infertility and osteoporosis.

It has been demonstrated that there is a clear advantage to early testing for celiac disease. Early testing can aide in  avoiding the irreversible damages that come from diagnosis later in life, such as stunted growth and organ damage. It is also faster for children to heal from intestinal lesions caused from undiagnosed celiac disease, when diagnosed early on. New evidence shows that 10 years after being diagnosed with celiac disease, 66% of the children diagnosed exhibited improvement in their health and overall quality of life; indicating that mass screening at an early age is critical.

This study was based on a previous study performed by  mass screening for celiac disease by a group of scientists in the Netherlands between 1997 and 1998, who studied 6,127 asymptomatic children between the ages of two and four. Using endomysial antibodies (IgA EmA) testing, the children were screened for celiac disease. 57 seropositive children were then given biopsies. The scientists compared different testing methods for celiac disease, evaluated their serological persistence over time, and determined optimum cut-off points for the testing. Using serological samples obtained at biopsy, EmA and tTGA was assessed for each subject studied. Human leukocyte antigen  (