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    Effects of Age and Gluten-free Diet on Celiac Disease


    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac.com 08/22/2011 - Research has shown that infants with celiac disease have microscopic changes to the intestinal tract, as compared to adults with the disease.


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    A research team recently examined bacterial differences in the upper small intestine in healthy adults with untreated celiac disease, healthy adults with celiac disease treated with a gluten-free diet, and children with untreated celiac disease, and children with celiac disease treated with a gluten-free diet.

    The research team included E. Nistal, A. Caminero, A. R.  Herrán, L. Arias, S. Vivas, J. M. de Morales, S. Calleja, L. E. de Miera, P. Arroyo, J. Casqueiro. They are affiliated with the Área de Microbiología, Facultad de Biología y Ciencias Ambientales, Universidad de León, León, Spain.

    The team used 16S rRNA gene sequencing of DNA extracted from duodenal biopsies to identify the status of their subjects. The gene sequences from adults and children showed that this intestinal region is colonized by bacteria of three different phyla: Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Bacteroidetes.

    In total, the team identified 89 different bacterial genera in adults and 46 in children. Children showed significantly lower bacterial richness than did adults. Analysis of the bacterial communities of both healthy and untreated celiac disease patient groups (including both children and adults) showed age to have a strong effect on principal component 1 (clustering all adults and children separately), as well as a possible separate clustering in adults with untreated celiac disease.

    The study revealed bacterial differences in the upper small intestine between untreated children with celiac disease and untreated celiac adults due to age. There are differences in the upper small bacteria microbiota between treated and untreated celiac disease adults due to treatment with a gluten-free diet.

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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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  • Related Articles

    Scott Adams
    The following Medline abstract describes a unique study that was done on the quality of life of two groups of people with celiac disease: One that was diagnosed as the result of having symptoms, and the other which had little or no symptoms and whose diagnosis was reached via screen-detection. Both groups were treated for one year with a gluten-free diet, and were then studied to determine their overall response, including their psychological response. Here is the abstract:
    Eff Clin Pract 2002 May-Jun;5(3):105-13
    Mustalahti K, Lohiniemi S, Collin P, Vuolteenaho N, Laippala P, Maki M.
    Department of Pediatrics, Tampere University Hospital, Finland.
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    OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of a gluten-free diet on the quality of life of patients with screen-detected celiac disease.
    DESIGN: Prospective study of patients before and 1 year after initiating a gluten-free diet.
    PARTICIPANTS: 19 patients with screen-detected celiac disease (found by serologically testing first-degree relatives of celiac patients) and 21 consecutive patients with symptom-detected disease. In all cases, celiac diagnosis was confirmed by finding villous atrophy and crypt hyperplasia on small-bowel biopsy.
    INTERVENTION: Gluten-free diet (explained during a single physician visit). MAIN OUTCOME
    MEASURES: Gastrointestinal Symptoms Rating Scale (GSRS), in which scores range from 0 to 6 (higher scores represent worse symptoms); and quality of life measured with the Psychological General Well-Being Questionnaire (PGWB). Scores range from 22 to 132 (higher scores mean greater well-being).
    RESULTS: At baseline, patients with symptom-detected celiac disease had poorer quality of life and more gastrointestinal symptoms than those with screen-detected celiac disease. Reported compliance with the gluten-free diet was good. All mucosal lesions of the small bowel had resolved at the follow-up biopsy. After 1 year of following the diet, quality of life for patients with screen-detected disease significantly improved (mean PGWB score increased from 108 to 114; P
    CONCLUSIONS: Gluten-free diet was associated with improved quality of life for patients with symptom-detected celiac disease and patients with screen-detected celiac disease. Concerns about the burden of a gluten-free diet, at least over the short term, may be unfounded.
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    Jefferson Adams
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    American Chemical Society Journal of Proteome Research

    Jefferson Adams
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     Am J Gastroenterol. 9 February 2010; doi: 10.1038/ajg.2010.10

    Jefferson Adams
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