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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 05/25/2018 - People with celiac disease need to follow a lifelong gluten-free diet. However, once their guts have healed, they can still be sensitive to gluten. Sometimes even more sensitive than they were before they went gluten-free. Accidental ingestion of gluten can trigger symptoms in celiac patients, such as pain in the gut and diarrhea, and can also cause intestinal damage. 
    A new drug being developed by a company called Amgen eases the effects of people with celiac disease on a gluten-free diet. Researchers working on the drug have announced that their proof-of-concept study shows AMG 714, an anti-IL-15 monoclonal antibody, potentially protects celiac patients from inadvertent gluten exposure by blocking interleukin 15, an important mediator of celiac disease, and leads to fewer symptoms following gluten exposure.
    The drug is intended for people with celiac disease who are following a gluten-free diet, and is designed to protect against modest gluten contamination, not to permit consumption of large amounts of gluten, like bread or pasta.
    AMG 714 is not designed for celiac patients to eat gluten at will, but for small, incidental contamination. Francisco Leon, MD, PhD, study director and consultant for Amgen, says that their team is looking at AMG 714 “for its potential to protect against modest contamination, not deliberately eating large amounts of gluten, like bread or pasta.” 
    Amgen hopes that AMG 714 will help celiac patients on a gluten-free diet to experience fewer or less sever gluten-triggered events.
    Findings of the team’s first phase 2 study of a biologic immune modulator in celiac disease will be presented at the upcoming Digestive Disease Week 2018. 
    Read more at ScienceDaily.com

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 05/24/2018 - England is facing some hard questions about gluten-free food prescriptions for people with celiac disease. Under England’s National Health Plan, people with celiac disease are eligible for gluten-free foods as part of their medical treatment. 
    The latest research shows that prescription practice for gluten-free foods varies widely, and often seems independent of medical factors. This news has put those prescribing practices under scrutiny.
    "Gluten free prescribing is clearly in a state of flux at the moment, with an apparent rapid reduction in prescribing nationally," say the researchers. Their data analysis revealed that after a steady increase in prescriptions between 1998 and 2010, the prescription rate for gluten free foods has both fallen, and become more variable, in recent years. Not only is there tremendous variation in gluten free prescribing, say the researchers, “this variation appears to exist largely without good reason…”
    Worse still, the research showed that those living in the most deprived areas of the country are the least likely to be prescribed gluten-free products, possibly due to a lower rate of celiac diagnosis in disadvantaged groups, say the researchers.
    But following a public consultation, the government decided earlier this year to restrict the range of gluten free products rather than banning them outright. As research data pile up and gluten-free food becomes cheaper and more ubiquitous, look for more changes to England’s gluten-free prescription program to follow. 
    Read more about this research in the online journal BMJ Open.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 05/23/2018 - Yes, we at Celiac.com realize that rye bread is not gluten-free, and is not suitable for consumption by people with celiac disease!  That is also true of rye bread that is low in FODMAPs.
    FODMAPs are Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. FODMAPS are molecules found in food, and can be poorly absorbed by some people. Poor FODMAP absorption can cause celiac-like symptoms in some people. FODMAPs have recently emerged as possible culprits in both celiac disease and in irritable bowel syndrome.
    In an effort to determine what, if any, irritable bowel symptoms may triggered by FODMAPs, a team of researchers recently set out to compare the effects of regular vs low-FODMAP rye bread on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms and to study gastrointestinal conditions with SmartPill.
    A team of researchers compared low-FODMAP rye bread with regular rye bread in patients irritable bowel syndrome, to see if rye bread low FODMAPs would reduce hydrogen excretion, lower intraluminal pressure, raise colonic pH, improve transit times, and reduce IBS symptoms compared to regular rye bread. The research team included Laura Pirkola, Reijo Laatikainen, Jussi Loponen, Sanna-Maria Hongisto, Markku Hillilä, Anu Nuora, Baoru Yang, Kaisa M Linderborg, and Riitta Freese.
    They are variously affiliated with the Clinic of Gastroenterology; the Division of Nutrition, Department of Food and Environmental Sciences; the Medical Faculty, Pharmacology, Medical Nutrition Physiology, University of Helsinki in Helsinki, Finland; the University of Helsinki and Helsinki University, Hospital Jorvi in Espoo, Finland; with the Food Chemistry and Food Development, Department of Biochemistry, University of Turku inTurku, Finland; and with the Fazer Group/ Fazer Bakeries Ltd in Vantaa, Finland.
    The team wanted to see if rye bread low in FODMAPs would cause reduced hydrogen excretion, lower intraluminal pressure, higher colonic pH, improved transit times, and fewer IBS symptoms than regular rye bread. 
    To do so, they conducted a randomized, double-blind, controlled cross-over meal study. For that study, seven female IBS patients ate study breads at three consecutive meals during one day. The diet was similar for both study periods except for the FODMAP content of the bread consumed during the study day.
    The team used SmartPill, an indigestible motility capsule, to measure intraluminal pH, transit time, and pressure. Their data showed that low-FODMAP rye bread reduced colonic fermentation compared with regular rye bread. They found no differences in pH, pressure, or transit times between the breads. They also found no difference between the two in terms of conditions in the gastrointestinal tract.
    They did note that the gastric residence of SmartPill was slower than expected. SmartPill left the stomach in less than 5 h only once in 14 measurements, and therefore did not follow on par with the rye bread bolus.
    There's been a great deal of interest in FODMAPs and their potential connection to celiac disease and gluten-intolerance. Stay tuned for more information on the role of FODMAPs in celiac disease and/or irritable bowel syndrome.
    Source:
    World J Gastroenterol. 2018 Mar 21; 24(11): 1259–1268.doi:  10.3748/wjg.v24.i11.1259

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 05/22/2018 - Proteins are the building blocks of life. If scientists can figure out how to create and grow new proteins, they can create new treatments and cures to a multitude of medical, biological and even environmental conditions.
    For a couple of decades now, scientists have been searching for a biological Rosetta stone that would allow them to engineer proteins with precision, but the problem has remained dauntingly complex.  Researchers had a pretty good understanding of the very simple way that the linear chemical code carried by strands of DNA translates into strings of amino acids in proteins. 
    But, one of the main problems in protein engineering has to do with the way proteins fold into their various three-dimensional structures. Until recently, no one has been able to decipher the rules that will predict how proteins fold into those three-dimensional structures.  So even if researchers were somehow able to design a protein with the right shape for a given job, they wouldn’t know how to go about making it from protein’s building blocks, the amino acids.
    But now, scientists like William DeGrado, a chemist at the University of California, San Francisco, and David Baker, director for the Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington, say that designing proteins will become at least as important as manipulating DNA has been in the past couple of decades.
    After making slow, but incremental progress over the years, scientists have improved their ability to decipher the complex language of protein shapes. Among other things, they’ve gained a better understanding of how then the laws of physics cause the proteins to snap into folded origami-like structures based on the ways amino acids are attracted or repelled by others many places down the chain.
    It is this new ability to decipher the complex language of protein shapes that has fueled their progress. UCSF’s DeGrado is using these new breakthroughs to search for new medicines that will be more stable, both on the shelf and in the body. He is also looking for new ways to treat Alzheimer’s disease and similar neurological conditions, which result when brain proteins fold incorrectly and create toxic deposits.
    Meanwhile, Baker’s is working on a single vaccine that would protect against all strains of the influenza virus, along with a method for breaking down the gluten proteins in wheat, which could help to generate new treatments for people with celiac disease. 
    With new computing power, look for progress on the understanding, design, and construction of brain proteins. As understanding, design and construction improve, look for brain proteins to play a major role in disease research and treatment. This is all great news for people looking to improve our understanding and treatment of celiac disease.
    Source:
    Bloomberg.com

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 05/21/2018 - Just a year ago, Starbucks debuted their Canadian bacon, egg and cheddar cheese gluten-free sandwich. During that year, the company basked in praise from customers with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity for their commitment to delivering a safe gluten-free alternative to it’s standard breakfast offerings.
    But that commitment came to an ignoble end recently as Starbucks admitted that their gluten-free sandwich was plagued by  “low sales,” and was simply not sustainable from a company perspective. The sandwich may not have sold well, but it was much-loved by those who came to rely on it.
    With the end of that sandwich came the complaints. Customers on social media were anything but quiet, as seen in numerous posts, tweets and comments pointing out the callous and tone-deaf nature of the announcement which took place in the middle of national Celiac Disease Awareness Month. More than a few posts threatened to dump Starbucks altogether.
    A few of the choice tweets include the following:  
    “If I’m going to get coffee and can’t eat anything might as well be DD. #celiac so your eggbites won’t work for me,” tweeted @NotPerryMason. “They’re discontinuing my @Starbucks gluten-free sandwich which is super sad, but will save me money because I won’t have a reason to go to Starbucks and drop $50 a week,” tweeted @nwillard229. Starbucks is not giving up on gluten-free entirely, though. The company will still offer several items for customers who prefer gluten-free foods, including Sous Vide Egg Bites, a Marshmallow Dream Bar and Siggi’s yogurt.
    Stay tuned to learn more about Starbucks gluten-free foods going forward.