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i found thi sin another forum and thought you guys may like to read it too:

HEALTH & ENVIRONMENT

Spotlight Turns on Celiac Disease

By Katrina Woznicki - WeNews correspondent

(WOMENSENEWS)--Alice Bast was 29 back in 1990 and excited about becoming a mother for a second time.

During the pregnancy she suffered bouts of severe diarrhea, but her doctor said not to worry. The pregnancy went smoothly until two weeks before her due date when she felt the baby had stopped moving. She was soon in the hospital delivering a full-term stillborn girl. It wasn't until after several more miscarriages when she would learn that the whole nightmare could have been prevented if she had followed a gluten-free diet or a diet free of wheat, barley and rye.

The cure seemed so simple, but the disease experts call a "clinical chameleon" was complex. Bast suffered from an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease or celiac sprue. The condition occurs when the body attacks itself after the intestine is exposed to the protein gluten. This exposure can lead to a variety of symptoms both mild and traumatic, from indigestion to severe diarrhea to intrauterine growth retardation, which could affect babies born to untreated mothers, as it did in Bast's case. It also causes mal-absorption of other nutrients, such as iron and calcium, leaving patients, particularly women, vulnerable to other serious chronic conditions like osteoporosis and anemia.

Much is known about celiac disease, which affects twice as many women as men, yet public awareness about this condition is just beginning. All it takes is a simple blood test to diagnose it, but few people are aware of this and few doctors know what to look for to determine if the blood test is necessary. Thanks to more recent studies on the subject and more patients speaking out about it, celiac disease is falling under the national spotlight and what was once an uncommon, often misdiagnosed condition is now being studied for potential cures and even has grocery stores responding to accommodate people requiring gluten-free diets.

"Fourteen years ago my life was dramatically altered," said Bast, who, as a result of her experiences, founded the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness in December 2003. "I became a victim of this debilitating and widespread disease that has been virtually unknown. I had a full-term stillborn child, multiple miscarriages, and a premature child. I was losing weight. I was anemic. I had constant diarrhea. It took me five years and 22 physicians to discover I was suffering from celiac disease."

Widely Under-Diagnosed

One out of every 250 Americans has some level of gluten intolerance, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health. The condition goes widely under-diagnosed because many physicians don't know how to detect it and its ubiquitous symptoms are often mistaken for other illnesses, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Everyone has tiny, fingerlike protrusions called villi that line the small intestine and help usher nutrients from food into the bloodstream. In celiac patients, however, gluten triggers a reaction that causes the immune system to attack these villi. When the villi are destroyed, celiac patients lack the ability to absorb critical nutrients.

Patients can be entirely asymptomatic or in more drastic cases, celiac can affect their fertility. There is no known treatment or cure for the condition except one that works 100 percent of the time: completely cutting gluten from the diet, which means cutting out popular carbohydrates, like pasta, bread, and cookies. When individuals with celiac stop eating gluten, the villi in the intestinal tract are able to grow back and function normally.

Of the 8 million Americans living with autoimmune illness, which include not only celiac disease, but also lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, more than three-fourths of those patients are women. Genetics play a role in all of these conditions and celiac is also believed to be a genetic disorder, but the biological mechanics remain unknown.

"The theory is that some genes on chromosome X (the female chromosome)

could be responsible," says Dr. Alessio Fasano, co-director of the University of Maryland's Center for Celiac Research in Baltimore. "Or chromosome Y (the male chromosome) might be protective, but nobody knows. Nothing has panned out."

Looking for a Cure

While some scientists hunt for a cause, others are looking for a cure. Fasano said scientists have pinpointed a molecule that plays an active role in celiac. "This molecule is out of control mch more than it should be and it makes the gut leaky," he explained. "It's very peculiar."

Fasano is hoping to create a drug that celiac patients could take shortly before eating and the medication would block this molecule from misbehaving. There is also interest in developing a vaccine against gluten, Fasano said, though that research is just getting underway.

Dr. Peter Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University in New York, said there is immense growing interest in finding treatment alternatives to celiac. Following a gluten-free diet is not easy because gluten hides in so many foods, from soy sauce to soup, leaving patients with severely limited food choices, so there is a greater focus on developing new therapies. While more grocery store shelves are featuring gluten-free aisles and a wider array of celiac-friendly products, researchers are exploring another avenue of investigation; creating drugs that would contain enzymes to help celiac patients digest gluten.

"It's a bit like giving someone Lactaid for someone with lactose intolerance," Green explained.

Celiac has many drawbacks to it, but there might be an upside. Green said there's some evidence suggesting women with celiac might have some health benefits, including lower cholesterol, a reduced risk for heart disease and a lowered risk of breast cancer. These perceived links have yet to be studied. "These are just epidemiological observations," Green said.

As women wait for more advanced treatments, scientists continue to unearth more connections between celiac and other conditions. A recent study from Italy published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found placing a small group of migraine patients on a gluten-free diet either reduced migraine frequency and intensity or wiped out migraines entirely. Why migraines and gluten in the diet could be linked is not yet known.

Despite these gains, Bast said there's still a long way to go. "Research on celiac disease is in its infancy," she said. "There are a few centers focusing on celiac and all are under-funded. Physicians, particularly those on the front line of seeing patients, must understand the need to treat celiac disease to reduce the time to get a correct diagnosis. And the public must become aware of the diverse group of symptoms that can make celiac masquerade as something else."

Katrina Woznicki is a freelance writer based in Edgewater, New Jersey.

For more information:

National Foundation for Celiac Awareness: -

http://www.celiacawareness.org/

University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research: -

http://www.celiaccenter.org/

The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University: -

http://www.celiacdiseasecenter.columbia.edu/

i found it very interesting and plan on checking out these websites---deb

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Thanks for the article. Before being diagnosed, I miscarried (went through hard labor with no baby) and it took me 2 years before I was able to conceive again. Thank God, I had a healthy son that time and another one a year later.

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    • Thanks Stephanie & Gemini for the info. that the 4 of 5 doesn't apply to children. I wasn't aware of that until now. 
    • I think the posters above have given you very good information and I will throw in my 2 cents worth.  I am surprised that they did not test her DGP IgA also.  I am sure that would have been positive.  They switched off with antibody classes and usually they do both tests for both antibodies.  IgA is more specific to Celiac but the IgG is also useful.  The testing shows your daughter is producing antibodies to the gluten in her diet. (DGP IGG). THe tTg shows positive for some damage or inflammation. You know........your daughter is only 4.  She hasn't been on the planet or eating gluten that long. It can take years for enough damage to occur for it to be able to be found on biopsy.  I would say it is highly likely that this is Celiac, especially with her symptoms. But because the damage hasn't graduated to bad enough yet, they won't diagnose her. I think you need to do what others have said and get all copies of testing and find someone else who will take a look and give a diagnosis, especially if they have you do a dietary trial and her symptoms go away.  That might be the only recourse if you want faster proof. I know I would want faster.  I would not really be happy if I thought I had to keep feeding her something that was making her sick.  If you keep her on gluten long enough, the diarrhea will probably show up. BTW.........the criteria mentioned regarding diagnosis does not apply to kids.  I know it's silly and stupid but most leading Celiac specialists do not go by this criteria for kids.......adults only.  Keep that in mind because it might come up.  You could recognize it but they might not. Have you considered gene testing, to help bolster a diagnosis? As far as false positives go, it's the other way around. False negatives happen more frequently than many people think.  It's a recurring theme here.  With her symptoms, which is what I had, a bloated belly and tummy aches are telling.  Have they tested her for lactose intolerance?  That can cause similar symptoms, although it sure won't raise those 2 blood tests.  Keep looking for Celiac because there are many red flags here.
    • This 4 out of 5 criteria does not apply to children. I was never given a reason why, but it isn't.     That said, you may try to get a second opinion from another GI who may be willing to give her a firm dx.  We were in your boat 6 years ago and while I'm sure I'll get slammed for it, I wish we had kept gluten in our kiddos diet till he scoped positive for a variety of reasons.  Again, even family is different and you have to find what is best for you!
    • Mnoosh, I had swollen lymph nodes prior to celiac dx and for a while after going gluten free. My neck as well as groin. The groin ones were the worst. Guess what? All gone! It's hard to recall a time line & consider that everyone is different but I think mine completely resolved within a year.  You've been given great information. Just breathe and then again, breathe. You're going to be fine. 
    • It is the only thing you have eaten, so it can't be anything else?  I eat it with no issues so I am not sure how you can be certain that is the problem.  All I am saying is that its sort of "your word against mine and the company's word".  
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