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  • Scott Adams
    Scott Adams

    Causes of Non-responsive Celiac Disease - More than 50% Continue to Ingest Gluten Unknowingly

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Am J Gastroenterol. 2002 Aug;97(8):2016-21

    Celiac.com 01/29/2004 - According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota, the main causes of non-responsive celiac disease are: "1) gluten contamination is the leading reason for non-responsive celiac disease; 2) of non-responsive celiac disease cases, 18% are due to Refractory Sprue; and 3) alternative diseases or those coexistent with celiac disease and gluten contamination should be ruled out before a diagnosis of Refractory Sprue is made." The researchers define Refractory Sprue as "failure of a strict gluten-free diet to restore normal intestinal architecture and function in patients who have celiac-like enteropathy," and conducted a study to determine possible causes, including how many people actually have Refractory Sprue compared with how many are diagnosed with it.

    The researchers examined the medical records of 55 patients who were, between 1997 and 2001, presumed to have non-responsive celiac disease, six of which were later found not to have celiac disease. Of the 49 remaining patients 25 were identified as having gluten contamination in their diet. The researchers add: "Additional diagnoses accounting for persistent symptoms included: pancreatic insufficiency, irritable bowel syndrome, bacterial overgrowth, lymphocytic colitis, collagenous colitis, ulcerative jejunitis, T-cell lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, fructose intolerance, protein losing enteropathy, cavitating lymphadenopathy syndrome, and tropical sprue."

    I think that it is clear that if you have celiac disease and continue to have symptoms your first step should be to look closely at your diet for any possible gluten contamination. Your next step should be eliminating other common food intolerance items such as cows milk, soy, eggs or corn. -Scott Adams


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    I was just diagnosed with Celiac Sprue, and am 51 years old. My sister was diagnosed with it 4 years ago. I have lymphocytic colitis, found out throuu my biopsy. This makes me scared actually. How long I have had this, I don't know. How much damage I have done to my small intestine. So will keep better track of my condition. I have had all the physical symptoms, stress, depression, terrible joint pain, tooth discoloration and bad dentin, numbness in arms and legs, severe headaches, irritability, but no anemia. But had started my gluten free diet on 2/13/09. And have already settled my headaches down, after suffering with them for over 30 years. If you need a dummy for your testing, allow me. I need to know that I will get better and not worse on this diet.

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  • About Me

    Celiac.com's Founder and CEO, Scott was diagnosed with celiac disease  in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. Scott launched the site that later became Celiac.com in 1995 "To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives."  In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

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