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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Can Mind and Body Techniques Help Treat Celiac Disease?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 01/14/2010 - Most people with celiac disease will tell you that faithfully maintaining a gluten-free diet can be very challenging, especially for those who enjoy dining out or in the homes of friends.

    "Going to restaurants or dinner at a friend's house can pose dangers to a person with celiac disease," says said Dr. Ali Keshavarzian, vice chairman of medicine and gastroenterologist at Rush University Medical Center. "It can really impact a person's quality of life."

    For most people, maintaining a gluten-free diet will stop symptoms, heal existing intestinal damage, and prevent further damage, along with potentially preventing numerous associated conditions, such as diabetes. But setting up and sticking to a gluten-free diet can be a challenge.

    A team of Gastroenterologists at Rush have designed a new study to determine if mind and body techniques could help people with celiac disease adhere to the very strict diet.

    "Eating even a small amount of gluten can damage the small intestine," says Dr. Ali Keshavarzian, vice chairman of medicine and gastroenterologist at Rush. "The damage will occur in anyone with the disease, including people without noticeable symptoms."

    Hidden sources of gluten are sometimes additives such as modified food starch, preservatives and stabilizers made with wheat. Also, numerous corn and rice products made in factories that also make wheat products can be contaminated with wheat gluten.

    "The purpose of this study is to determine whether participation in one of two mind/body courses can help patients cope with the restricted diet," says Keshavarzian. "It can be very hard and stressful for people with celiac disease to stick to a gluten-free diet."

    Healing existing intestinal damage and preventing further damage means that people with celiac disease must go on a lifelong gluten-free diet. Patients must be trained by health professionals on how to understand safe and unsafe ingredient on food labels, and to spot foods containing gluten in order to make safer, more effective choices when grocery shopping or eating out.

    People with celiac disease or gluten intolerance usually begin to feel better within days of starting a gluten-free diet.

    The small intestine usually heals in three- to six-months in children, but can take several years in adults. A healed intestine means a person now has healthy intestinal villi that can properly absorb nutrients from food into the blood.

    Patients enrolled in the study on Celiac disease and mind/body techniques at Rush will be randomly assigned to two course assignments for eight weeks.

    To be eligible for the study, patients must be over 18 years of age, have received a diagnosis of celiac disease in the past four weeks or within two weeks of starting a gluten-free diet, and have not previously attempted a gluten-free diet.

    Source: ScienceDaily (Jan. 11, 2010)


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    Yadayadayada...Rush University is where they sent an area Physician to be evaluated Psychologically...which amounted to a witch hunt they conducted because he was critical of the operation of a local emergency room and instead opened a competitive clinic of his own giving competition to that emergency room....so pfff.

    Also the paternalistic attitude of "health professionals must instruct the patient....". Gimme a break. A health professional generally has no knowledge on this topic, so the patient has to do everything on his own.

    And I'll even go you one more, because this is the real kicker, in case anyone raised Catholic reading anything probably needed one: my Parochial Elementary School sent me into Psychiatry at a young age, which only served to work destruction within the family that has lasted a lifetime and beyond lifetimes, to which the usual ignorance is added. Hanh...and they say we have the greatest health care system on earth....if THIS IS IT----we have a terribly deficient earth--which is certainly also true.

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    Guest Gluten-Free in AZ

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    Yadayadayada...Rush University is where they sent an area Physician to be evaluated Psychologically...which amounted to a witch hunt they conducted because he was critical of the operation of a local emergency room and instead opened a competitive clinic of his own giving competition to that emergency room....so pfff.

    Also the paternalistic attitude of "health professionals must instruct the patient....". Gimme a break. A health professional generally has no knowledge on this topic, so the patient has to do everything on his own.

    And I'll even go you one more, because this is the real kicker, in case anyone raised Catholic reading anything probably needed one: my Parochial Elementary School sent me into Psychiatry at a young age, which only served to work destruction within the family that has lasted a lifetime and beyond lifetimes, to which the usual ignorance is added. Hanh...and they say we have the greatest health care system on earth....if THIS IS IT----we have a terribly deficient earth--which is certainly also true.

    I agree with you on the part that a health care professional does not have a knowledge on celiac and a gluten-free diet. I went to 3 doctors and they still haven't been able to diagnose me. I told them when I stop eating gluten, all of my symptoms go away. One GI doc even said he saw part of my intestine was flattened (golden standard for diagnosing a celiac), even after seeing that during endoscopy, he still said I don't have celiac. I asked another doctor, what kind of foods should I eat, how can I read labels, and he said, "you'll have to do your research". Well, in the meantime, I've been doing my own research and paying for it. Who the hell knew that caramel color has gluten in it. Who can guess that soy sauce has gluten in it, etc. We are on our own! This health care system is NOT the best, and these doctors are NOT the best. Back in the 1300's, doctors knew more about how to diagnose, than they do know. Now, they ONLY rely on machines and tools.

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    Why don't you tell us about the study after it is published? That way we can take advantage of the study to help ourselves, since, as the other posters mentioned, the western medical profession basically has not the first CLUE about celiac disease. It sounds like the study is for people who want to explore natural/homeopathic remedies for enduring celiac disease. I do hope we get to read about it when it has concluded.

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    Gosh you guys are super negative! I've found Yoga extremely helpful. I've also found that my RD was knowledgeable in instructing me, but she said I was already well-informed and gave me a thumbs up. She helped me locate gluten, and corn-free vitamins as well. I have not been to Rush--but I am looking at them for follow-up care options. Are you all just poo-poo-ing any doctor?

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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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