Those patients for whom there is a high suspicion for celiac disease should have a small bowel biopsy which can be obtained by an experienced endoscopist in the distal duodendum. The best noninvasive tests available for screening for asymptomatic celiac disease are the specific serological tests. These are of several varieties: the anti-gliadin, anti-endomysial, or anti-reticulin antibodies. Our experience and the literature support the use as of endomysial antibody test as the single most specific and probably most sensitive for celiac disease. This test has now become available in specialty laboratories as well as in a small number of academic institutions. All of the tests should be done with the subjects on a normal gluten containing diet. A combination of endomysial and gliadin testing would seem to be the most sensitive as a screening method. A positive test is not, however, considered to be diagnostic and would usually require a small bowel biopsy for confirmation. A trial of dietary exclusion of gluten is *not* recommended as a diagnostic test without a prior abnormal biopsy.

Because the body will recover when one goes gluten-free, the tests will then come up negative. Without a definitive test one may then stray from the diet, as one will feel well and was never sure that they had it in the first place. As for the two tests: The biopsy will look for flattened villi on the intestinal wall. After one goes gluten-free they will grow back. The blood antibodies are formed as a bodys reaction to the presence of the gluten. If no gluten, then no antibodies are present.

As always, Celiac.com welcomes your comments (see below).