Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2005;22(4):317-324. Celiac.com 09/14/2005 - In an effort to determine whether general screening for celiac disease should be conducted in high-risk groups, Finnish researchers conducted a 14 year follow-up study which focused on dietary compliance, quality of life, and bone mineral density in 53 consecutive screen-detected celiac disease patients who were diagnosed and treated around 14 years ago. The researchers assessed dietary compliance via an interview, a 4-day food record, and a blood antibody screening. Quality of life was measured via the Psychological General Well-Being and SF-36 questionnaires, while gastrointestinal symptoms were evaluated using the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale, and bone mineral density was measured using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. The researchers compared the results of these evaluations with those of 44 symptom-detected and treated celiac disease patients, 110 non-celiac disease subjects, and the general population.
The researchers found that 96% of screen-detected and 93% of symptom-detected celiac disease patients adhered to a strict or fairly strict gluten-free diet. In the screen-detected group quality of life and gastrointestinal symptoms were similar to that of the symptom-detected patients and non-celiac disease controls, and their bone mineral densities were similar to that of the general population.
The researchers conclude that dietary compliance in long-term screen-detected patients was good, and quality of life and bone mineral densities were comparable to that of the non-celiac disease subjects and the general population. Based on these results active screening for celiac disease in risk groups is beneficial and in no way harmful.