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    Jefferson Adams earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, and science. He previously served as Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for Sharecare.com.

    Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book Dangerous Grains by James Braly, MD and Ron Hoggan, MA.

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    Roy Jamron
    Celiac.com 07/31/2006 - A two-year study in the July 2006 Endoscopy showed older celiac patients on a gluten-free diet have an incomplete histological recovery even after two years. Only the younger patients (5 - 30 years) showed significant improvement of histology within 12 months (P < 0.034); older patients (>30 years) showed histological improvement but this was not statistically significant, even after 24 months on a gluten-free diet. This study was also previously discussed in an article by Dr. Antonio Tursi in the Spring 2006 Celiac.com Scott-Free Newsletter. This also means increased intestinal permeability and associated problems such as liver damage may continue to be a lasting problem in older patients beyond two years on a gluten-free diet. Below is the abstract:
     

    Endoscopy 2006 July; 38(7): 702-707
    Endoscopic and histological findings in the duodenum of adults with celiac disease before and after changing to a gluten-free diet: a 2-year prospective study
    Tursi, A.; Brandimarte, G.; Giorgetti, G. M.; Elisei, W.; Inchingolo, C. D.; Monardo, E.; Aiello, F.
     


    Background and study aims: Published follow-up data on small-intestinal recovery in patients with celiac disease are scarce and contradictory. This is especially the case for adult patients, who often show incomplete histological recovery after starting a gluten-free diet (GFD). We conducted a 2-year prospective study to evaluate the effectiveness of a GFD in improving the endoscopic and histological duodenal findings in adults with celiac disease.
    Patients and methods: We studied 42 consecutive adults with newly diagnosed celiac disease (13 men, 29 women; mean age 32.7 years, range 15 - 72 years). All the patients underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy and small bowel biopsy. We devised our own grading system for the endoscopic appearance of the duodenum, which ranged from "normal" appearance to "mild", "moderate", or "severe" alterations. Small bowel biopsies were obtained from the second part of the duodenum (and from the duodenal bulb when it had a micronodular appearance). The histopathological appearances were described according to modified Marsh criteria.
    Results: A normal endoscopic appearance in the duodenum was found in 5/42 patients (11.9 %) at entry and in 32/42 patients (76.2 %) after 2 years on a GFD. Subdividing the patients according to age, patients aged from 15 years to 60 years showed significant improvement within 12 months (P < 0.0001 for patients aged from 15 years to 45 years; P < 0.003 for patients in the 46 years to 60 years group), whereas the improvement in endoscopic findings in patients older than 60 years was not statistically significant, even 24 months after starting the GFD. "Normal" histology was reported in none of the patients at entry, but in 25 patients (59.5 %) after 24 months on a GFD, but this parameter did not show a significant improvement until the patients had been on the GFD for 12 months (P < 0.0001). Only the younger patients (5 - 30 years) showed significant improvement of histology within 12 months (P < 0.034); older patients (>30 years) showed histological improvement but this was not statistically significant, even after 24 months on a GFD.
    Conclusions: This study shows for the first time that endoscopic recovery is faster than histological recovery in adults with celiac disease who go on a GFD. Moreover, older patients showed incomplete endoscopic and histological recovery even 24 months after starting a GFD. We therefore advise, as a minimum recommendation, that follow-up biopsies should be taken 1 - 2 years after starting a GFD in adults with celiac disease.

    Jefferson Adams
    Mucosal Recovery and Mortality in Adults With Celiac Disease Following a Gluten-Free Diet
    Celiac.com 02/23/2011 - In most adults with celiac disease, clinical symptoms disappear with a gluten-free diet. However, the exact effects of a gluten-free diet on rates of mucosal recovery in adults with celiac disease is less certain.
    A group of clinicians recently set out to assess rates of mucosal recovery under a gluten-free diet in adults with celiac disease, and to gauge the clinical prospects of ongoing mucosal damage in celiac patients who follow a gluten-free diet.
    The study group included Alberto Rubio-Tapia, MD; Mussarat W. Rahim, MBBS; Jacalyn A. See, MS, RD, LD; Brian D. Lahr, MS; Tsung-Teh Wu, MD; and Joseph A. Murray, MD.
    Each patient in the study had biopsy-proven celiac disease, and was assessed at the Mayo Clinic. Also, each patient received duodenal biopsies at diagnosis. After beginning a gluten-free diet, each patient had at least one follow-up intestinal biopsy to assess mucosal recovery.
    The study team focused on mucosal recovery and overall mortality. Of 381 adult patients with biopsy-proven celiac disease, a total of 241 (175 women - 73%) had both a diagnostic and follow-up biopsy available for re-review.
    Using the Kaplan–Meier rate of confirmed mucosal recovery to assess these 241 patients, the study group found that 34% of the patients enjoyed mucosal recovery at 2 years after diagnosis (95% with a confidence interval (CI): 27–40 % ), and 66% of patients enjoyed mucosal recovery at 5 years (95% CI: 58–74 % ).
    More than 80% of patients showed some clinical response to the gluten-free diet, but clinical response was not a reliable marker of mucosal recovery ( P = 0.7). Serological response was, by far, the best marker for confirmed mucosal recovery ( P = 0.01).
    Patients who complied poorly with a gluten-free diet ( P < 0.01), those with severe celiac disease defined by diarrhea and weight loss ( P < 0.001), and those with total villous atrophy at diagnosis ( P < 0.001) had high rates of persistent mucosal damage.
    With adjustments for gender and age, patients who experienced confirmed mucosal recovery had lower mortality rates overall (hazard ratio = 0.13, 95 % CI: 0.02 – 1.06, P = 0.06).
    One of the most important findings from this study was that a large number of adults with celiac disease have no mucosal recovery, even after treatment with a gluten free diet.
    Compared to those patients who suffered persistent damage, patients who experienced confirmed mucosal recovery had lower rates of mortality independent of age and gender.
    The group notes that systematic follow-up via intestinal biopsy may be advisable for adults with celiac disease.
    Source:

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

    Jefferson Adams
    Gluten-free Diet Benefits Newly Screened Older Celiac Disease Patients
    Celiac.com 05/02/2012 - Doctors and researchers are still debating the usefulness of active blood screening for spotting celiac disease in older populations. Studies do suggest that many cases of celiac disease go undetected, especially in the older population. One unanswered question is whether screening does any good for older people who have been eating gluten many decades.
    A team of researchers recently studied the clinical benefit of a gluten-free diet in screen-detected older celiac disease patients. The research team included Anitta Vilppula, Katri Kaukinen, Liisa Luostarinen, Ilkka Krekelä, Heikki Patrikainen, Raisa Valve, Markku Luostarinen, Kaija Laurila, Markku Mäki, and Pekka Collin.
    They are affiliated with the Department of Neurology, the Department of Internal Medicine and the Department of Surgery at Päijät-Häme Central Hospital, and the University of Helsinki's Department of Education and Development in Lahti, Finland, the Department of Gastroenterology and Alimentary Tract Surgery the School of Medicine, and the Paediatric Research Centre at the University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.
    For their study, the researchers evaluated the benefit of active detection and implementation of a gluten-free diet in elder populations with for celiac disease.
    The team evaluated thirty-five biopsy-proven celiac patients over 50 years of age, each of whom had celiac disease detected by mass blood screening.
    They looked at bone mineral density, dietary compliance, disease history, quality of life, and symptoms at baseline and after 1-2 years of a gluten-free diet. They also looked at small bowel biopsy, serology, laboratory parameters assessing malabsorption, and bone mineral density.
    Using surveys, the team established gastrointestinal symptom ratings and quality of life by psychological general well-being. The used this information to rate symptoms.
    They found patient dietary compliance to be good overall.  Initial tests on the patients showed reduced serum ferritin levels, pointing to subclinical iron deficiency. This trend reversed after patients followed a gluten-free diet.
    Initially low vitamin B12, vitamin D and erythrocyte folic acid levels increased significantly on a gluten-free diet.
    Patient histories showed that those with celiac disease had sustained more low-energy fractures, and sustained such fractures more frequently than the general population. A gluten-free diet brings with it a beneficial increase in bone mineral density.
    The team also noticed that many gastrointestinal symptoms disappeared, even though though many patients reported only subtle symptoms upon diagnosis.
    Quality of life remained unchanged. According to the study team, two out of three patients would have been diagnosed even without screening if the family history, fractures or concomitant autoimmune diseases had been factored in.
    Results showed that patients who had celiac disease detected by mass blood screen did, in fact, benefit from a gluten-free diet. For doctors evaluating older patients, the team advocates a high index of suspicion and active case-finding in celiac disease as an alternative to mass screening.
    Source:
    BMC Gastroenterology 2011, 11:136. doi:10.1186/1471-230X-11-136

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 10/15/2014 - A team of researchers recently set out to assess the benefits of a gluten-free diet for people whose blood screens show markers for celiac disease, but who show no physical symptoms. Specifically, they investigated whether screen-detected and apparently asymptomatic adults with endomysial antibodies (EmA) benefit from a gluten-free diet.
    The research team included K. Kurppa, A. Paavola, P. Collin, H. Sievänen, K. Laurila, H. Huhtala, P. Saavalainen, M. Mäki, and K. Kaukinen. They are variously associated with the Tampere Center for Child Health Research, the Tampere School of Health Sciences of the University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital, the Department of Gastroenterology and Alimentary Tract Surgery at Tampere University Hospital and School of Medicine, University of Tampere, the UKK Institute in Tampere, Finland, the Research Program Unit of the Immunobiology and Haartman Institute at the Department of Medical Genetics of the University of Helsinki in Helsinki, Finland, and the Department of Gastroenterology and Alimentary Tract Surgery, Tampere University Hospital and School of Medicine, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland and Seinäjoki Central Hospital, Seinäjoki, Finland.
    For their study, they conducted a prospective trial of 3031 individuals at risk for celiac disease based on screens for EmA. They found 40 of 148 seropositive individuals who fulfilled inclusion criteria. They randomly assigned the 40 patients to groups receiving either a gluten-free diet, or a gluten-containing diet.
    They then evaluated ratios of small-bowel mucosal villous height:crypt depth, serology and laboratory test results, gastrointestinal symptom scores, physiologic well-being, perception of health by a visual analog scale, bone mineral density, and body composition at baseline and after 1 year. From that point on, they switched the group on the gluten-containing diet to a gluten-free diet, evaluated them a third time. Patients in the first gluten-free diet group remained on that diet.
    After 1 year on the gluten-free diet, the mean mucosal villous height:crypt depth values increased (P < .001), levels of celiac-associated antibodies decreased (P < .003), and gastrointestinal symptoms improved compared to patients on gluten-containing diets (P = .003).
    The gluten-free diet group showed less indigestion (P = .006), reflux (P = .05), and anxiety (P = .025), and better overall health, based on the visual analog scale (P = .017), compared gluten-containing diet group.
    Only social function scores improved more in the gluten-containing diet group than in the gluten-free diet group (P = .031). There were no differences between groups in terms of lab test results, bone mineral density, or body composition.
    Most measured parameters improved when patients in the gluten-containing diet group were placed on gluten-free diets.
    No subjects considered their experience to be negative and most expected to continue eating gluten-free.
    The results show that a gluten-free diet benefits asymptomatic EmA-positive patients, and show the benefits of actively screening patients at risk for celiac disease.
    Source:
    Gastroenterology. 2014 Sep;147(3):610-617.e1. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2014.05.003. 

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