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    Better Celiac Diagnosis Has No Impact On Death Rates


    Jefferson Adams
    Image Caption: New AJG study on celiac diagnosis and death rates.

    Celiac.com 03/02/2011 - New blood screening tests have improved rates of diagnosis for celiac disease in recent decades, but better diagnosis has not reduced celiac-associated deaths, according to a report by UK researchers in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.


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    After serologic tests became available, there was an approximate tenfold increase in the numbers of people being diagnosed with celiac disease. Intuitively, one would expect this increase in diagnosis to be followed by a decrease in celiac-related deaths. The idea being that earlier diagnosis means earlier treatment with gluten-free diet, and, ideally, less associated conditions and deaths.

    However, the newest study in this area shows evidence of any change in all-cause mortality among people with celiac disease. That means that even with better, earlier diagnosis, people with celiac disease are still dying at the same rates as before.

    Researcher Dr. Matthew J. Grainge, of the University of Nottingham, told Reuters Health that his team "found that people with celiac disease have a 37% increase in all-cause mortality compared with the general population."

    His team found that people diagnosed with celiac disease since 2000 have a similar mortality risk as those diagnosed earlier despite the introduction of serological tests, "which has probably resulted in milder cases being identified," Grainge said.

    For their study, the research team reviewed data on 1092 celiac disease patients diagnosed from the late 1950s onward, and who had been followed for a minimum of two years.

    The team examined outcomes from 1978 until death or through the end of 2006. All study subjects were diagnosed at a single center and the study covered both the pre- and post-serology era. The study covered more than 10,000 person years of follow-up,  and tallied a total of 142 deaths.

    The study revealed a significantly increased all-cause standardized mortality ratio (SMR) of 1.37. This was higher for men (SMR, 1.86) than for women (SMR, 1.10). Study subjects had higher rates of death from cancer (SMR, 1.61) digestive (SMR, 2.19) and respiratory diseases (SMR, 1.57) compared to the general population. In all, there were 21 deaths from respiratory diseases, 11 of those from pneumonia.

    According to the research team, this data supports current guidelines recommending pneumococcal vaccination for people with celiac disease.

    In conclusion, the researchers note that the results may offer doctors "an opportunity to reduce mortality following pneumococcal infection by increasing the uptake of vaccination against this pathogen as vaccination rates are currently well below 50%."

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    Guest Amy Buchert

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    Great information for celiacs!! I suffer from upper respiratory infections almost yearly and will now receive the Pneumococcal vaccine next fall.

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    Guest Dr. Murdocco

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    Interesting and informative.

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    Guest Helen Haas

    Posted

    I find this article very helpful I have had celiac since 78 years old now 83 and doing just fine the gluten-free breads have gotten so much better since I first was diagnosis the pies & cakes haven't improved much.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. He has covered Health News for Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for Sharecare.com. His work has appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate, among others.

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    The study doesn't provide any real evidence to support a conclusion one way or the other, especially their conclusion that a gluten-free diet "may constitute an environmental variable to be considered in treated Coeliac disease patients for its possible effects on gut health."
    The fact is that beneficial, probiotic bacteria in the human gut are influenced by diet. The more fruits, vegetables, and high fiber foods we consume, the healthier our bacteria will be.
    The Spanish study makes no mention of the subjects' diets. Were they fed high fiber, low fat diets rich in fruits and vegetables, or did they eat a standard western diet with no gluten?
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    Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as desired. 
    Serve is a bowl with tortilla chips and guacamole.