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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Are Current Screening Methods Missing Too Many Celiac Cases?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      What determines who gets tested for celiac disease, and are current screening methods working? In an effort to provide a clear picture, a team of researchers assessed the factors that determine diagnostic testing, along with the frequency of clinical test

    Caption: Image: CC--US Army Africa

    Celiac.com 07/03/2018 - The vast majority of celiac disease remain undiagnosed, and clinical testing is usually done on a case by case basis. Factor in vague or atypical symptoms, and you have a recipe for delayed diagnosis and unnecessary suffering. What determines who gets tested, and are current screening methods working?

    A team of researchers recently set out to assess the factors that determine diagnostic testing, along with the frequency of clinical testing in patients with undiagnosed celiac disease. The research team included I. A. Hujoel, C. T. Van Dyke, T. Brantner, J. Larson, K. S. King, A. Sharma J. A. Murray, and A. Rubio‐Tapia. They are variously affiliated with the Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, the Division of Internal Medicine, at the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

    For their case‐control study the team identified 408 cases of undiagnosed celiac disease from a group of 47,557 adults with no prior diagnosis of celiac disease. Their team identified undiagnosed cases through sequential serology, and selected unaffected age‐ and gender‐matched controls. They made a comprehensive review of medical records for indications for and evidence of clinical testing.

    Over time, people with undiagnosed celiac disease were more likely than control subjects to present with symptoms or conditions that invite testing. This study makes a strong case that current clinical methods are ineffective in detecting undiagnosed celiac disease. Accordingly, the researchers urge the development and adoption of more effective methods for detecting celiac disease.


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    The rate of "reported" cases of diagnosed celiac disease is up 400% in the last 50 years.

    Each decade the gluten/gliadin content of wheat has been increased exponentially since 1950 through the process of hybridization.

    A few years ago after the 2009 outbreak in celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity diagnoses, celiac was reported up to 1.0% of the population.  A newer reporting this month states the percentage has risen to 1.4%!  

    The public has been made aware that there are thousands more of undiagnosed celiac disease, proportionally higher in females.  I would venture to guess with improvements in diagnostic testing this will soon rise to 2.5%.  In fifteen years it may well reach 5.0% as more celiac & gluten-sensitivity cases are reported!

    Why oh why did the FDA allow companies of scientist to "mess" with our grains?

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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