Celiac.com 05/02/2012 - Doctors and researchers are still debating the usefulness of active blood screening for spotting celiac disease in older populations. Studies do suggest that many cases of celiac disease go undetected, especially in the older population. One unanswered question is whether screening does any good for older people who have been eating gluten many decades.

Photo: CC--pedrosimoes7A team of researchers recently studied the clinical benefit of a gluten-free diet in screen-detected older celiac disease patients. The research team included Anitta Vilppula, Katri Kaukinen, Liisa Luostarinen, Ilkka Krekelä, Heikki Patrikainen, Raisa Valve, Markku Luostarinen, Kaija Laurila, Markku Mäki, and Pekka Collin.

They are affiliated with the Department of Neurology, the Department of Internal Medicine and the Department of Surgery at Päijät-Häme Central Hospital, and the University of Helsinki's Department of Education and Development in Lahti, Finland, the Department of Gastroenterology and Alimentary Tract Surgery the School of Medicine, and the Paediatric Research Centre at the University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.

For their study, the researchers evaluated the benefit of active detection and implementation of a gluten-free diet in elder populations with for celiac disease.

The team evaluated thirty-five biopsy-proven celiac patients over 50 years of age, each of whom had celiac disease detected by mass blood screening.

They looked at bone mineral density, dietary compliance, disease history, quality of life, and symptoms at baseline and after 1-2 years of a gluten-free diet. They also looked at small bowel biopsy,