Celiac.com 02/15/2001 - Dr. Susan L. Neuhausen and associates at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City studied 97 Caucasian children with Down Syndrome, ages 2 to 18 years. Their results, which were published in the January issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics, show that 10 of the children tested positive for celiac disease (IgA anti-endomysial antibody). This is a rate that is about 25 times the general population.
According to the results of genetic testing on these children, their genetic predisposition is the same as in the general population, which leads the researchers to believe that a gene on chromosome 21 may be involved in the pathogenesis of celiac disease.. The only symptom exhibited by the children was bloating. Six of the children who were found to have celiac disease are now on a gluten-free diet and have experienced significant improvement of their symptoms.
Conclusion: Children with Down Syndrome should be screened for celiac disease because there is a 10% incidence of the autoimmune disorder in this population. Screening for and treating celiac disease can improve the quality of life for children with Down Syndrome.