In 1994 I was diagnosed with celiac disease, which led me to create Celiac.com in 1995. I created this site for a single purpose: To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives. Celiac.com was the first site on the Internet dedicated solely to celiac disease, and since then it has become an invaluable resource to people worldwide who seek information about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet.
In 1998 I created The Gluten-Free Mall, Your Special Diet Superstore! which was also another Internet first—it was the first gluten-free food site to offer a shopping cart-style interface, and the ability for people to order gluten-free products manufactured by many different companies at a single Web site.
I am also co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.
Erik de Graaf
director, Stiching Down Syndrome (SDS)
(i.e., the Dutch Down Syndrome Foundation)
Vice-President of the European Downs Syndrome Association (EDSA)
NL-7941 AL Wanneperveen
Tel.: -31-(0)522-28 13 37
Fax.: -31-(0)522-28 17 99
Leyden University Medical School just finished a large-scale investigation using 198 families who have a child with DS between the ages of 1 and 9 years old. 115 decided to have their child participate. The first researcher, Elvira George, made home visits and collected blood and urine for testing. A. o. values of anti-endomysium (EmA) were determined. Only if one of the investigated blood or urine values was significantly different from the norm was the child referred to the hospital to take a biopsy. That was the case with 43 of the 115 children. In 9 cases no biopsy was taken, in six because the parents refused it and in 3 because the childs condition didnt allow for it. Of the 34 children that had a biopsy taken, eight, or rather 7 % (!) of the original 115, had the intestinal appearance typical for celiac disease (according to international standards).
Retrospectively, five of these eight children had complaints that were compatible with celiac disease, that were considered to be caused by DS as such until then. Three children were free of complaints. Their diagnosis was a complete surprise. In addition, it was proven that the value for EmA was the strongest indicator of a positive biopsy. If EmA was positive there always was celiac disease upon biopsy.
Needless to say that all (so far but one) concerned children were put on a totally gluten free diet. It was reported that their complaints decreased rapidly. Celiac disease is considered to put people involved at risk for particular intestinal cancers, if they do not keep their diet. Therefore, the diet has to be maintained lifelong. This aspect makes testing for celiac disease so important in an at risk population as children with DS are. Even without complaints one in fourteen of our children might have it!
It is postulated that the children that had different blood values but no positive biopsy can still develop celiac disease in the future. Their condition will remain be followed. Presently, the complete study is in the process of being published in international literature. There is the following pre-publication reference:
For more information: