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  • Scott Adams
    Scott Adams

    Growth Hormone Deficiency Found in Children with Celiac Disease

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Clinical Endocrinology, March 2005, vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 372-375(4)

    Celiac.com 04/29/2005 – In an effort to determine the occurrence of growth hormone deficiency (GFD) in children with celiac disease, Italian researchers evaluated 1,066 children who were diagnosed with short stature. All patients were screened for celiac disease using anti-endomysial antibodies (EMA), and those with positive results were given a follow-up biopsy. The researchers found that 210 or 19.7% of the children had GHD, and of these12 also had positive EMA and biopsy and were diagnosed with celiac disease. After one year on a gluten-free diet 9 of these 12 children showed marked growth improvement, while the remaining 3 showed no catch-up growth. Additional tests found an isolated GHD in one of the children, and multiple GHDs in the other 2 children. Growth hormone therapy was initiated in addition to a gluten-free diet in these 3 children, which led to an increase in their growth rate.

    The researchers conclude that growth hormone should be evaluated in those with celiac disease whose growth does not improve on a gluten-free diet, and growth hormone therapy should be started in these individuals while on a gluten-free diet.


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    I find this very encouraging, being that I grew up GHD, as well as my sister and two of her four kids, currently are. To know that catching it early may help them have a better chance of growing normally, unlike myself, is great. I would like to see more on the subject though, if it were available/out there.

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    Our son went through all kinds of tests to determine why his growth flattened out at age 4. For several years he was on Growth Hormone which resulted in less than favorable growth velocity. It wasn't until age 9 that an intern suggested that we might have him tested for Celiac. The rest is history. 9 years on a Gluten Free diet in addition to the Growth Hormone to allow him to catch up produced a 6ft 135lb kid out of one who was at best going to be 5ft or less. To this day his endocrinologist would does not believe in testing for celiac in 'short stature' children. There is still a lot of work and education to be done. We are now annoying disciples when we talk to med students, doctors and even friends with short stature children.

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  • About Me

    Celiac.com's Founder and CEO, Scott was diagnosed with celiac disease  in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. Scott launched the site that later became Celiac.com in 1995 "To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives."  In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

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