Celiac.com 11/12/2001 - According to a recent report published in the October issue of the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition nearly 5% of US children with juvenile diabetes also have celiac disease. Dr. Steven L. Werlin of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and colleagues tested 218 patients with juvenile diabetes and 117 matched control subjects for the IgA endomysial antibody. Patients with positive results were offered a small bowel biopsy. The patients symptoms were assessed via a parent questionnaire.
Results: Seventeen diabetic patients tested positive for the IgA endomysial antibody, while no positive results were found among control subjects. Fourteen of the 17 patients who tested positive underwent a follow-up small bowel biopsy. Villous atrophy was found in 11 of the patients. Two patients had increased intraepithelial lymphocytes without villous atrophy. Interestingly, more than half of the patients with biopsy-proven celiac disease were asymptomatic.
According to Dr. Werlin, the results indicate that there is an association between asymptomatic celiac disease and juvenile diabetes. According to other research the treatment of the celiac disease in these patients will make the management of their diabetes easier. He further states that treating asymptomatic celiac disease will prevent many of its complications, and recommends that children with diabetes mellitus be screened for possible celiac disease with an antibody test and possible follow-up small bowel biopsy.