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    Prick a Finger and Save a Life: How YOU Can Make a Difference in Celiac Disease Research


    Vanessa Maltin Weisbrod


    • Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Autumn 2012 Issue


    Image Caption: Image: CC--PROIntel Free Press

    Celiac.com 11/11/2017 - (NOTE: This article is from 2012 and is being made available as Celiac.com rolls our past issues of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity) It's just like being a little kid with a super sore throat and your mom taking you to the doctor to get a test for strep throat. The doctor swabs your throat with two sticks to find out what nasty bacteria is camping out. In just moments you've got a diagnosis of strep throat and can start antibiotics to miraculously make the pain go away. You go home with a prescription, get in bed and eat mom's homemade chicken rice soup until you feel better in a couple of days. How cool would it be if getting diagnosed with celiac disease was this easy?


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    The wonderful news is that we're getting closer to having a test that will diagnose celiac disease with just a simple prick of a finger and a 10-minute wait. The CeliacSure Test Kit measures (anti-tTG) IGA antibodies from a fingertip blood sample. It works by taking a small drop of blood, mixing it with a buffer and applying the mixture onto a test cartridge. Within moments two red lines appear if the test is positive, while only one line appears if the result is negative. And, you can take the test at home without ever getting out of your pajamas!

    "The test kit is a point-of-care, at-home test that's very similar to reading results of a pregnancy test," said Dr. Daniel Leffler of the Celiac Disease Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Leffler, a gastroenterologist by training with a background in nutrition, has a long-standing interest in celiac disease. Several years ago he teamed up with Dr. Ciaran Kelly and Dietitian Melinda Dennis to found the Celiac Disease Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where they focus not only on providing top notch patient care, but also on high level disease research. The latest project: studying the efficacy of the CeliacSure test for celiac disease diagnosis.

    Dr. Leffler said his team got involved with the finger prick test study because they feel it's important to take down barriers to patients getting diagnosed with celiac disease. "We do a lot with educating other medical providers about offering in-clinic testing, but I think it's really important to put a tool in the hands of the people."

    "We've teamed up with the [marketers] of the test kit at GlutenPro/Biocard CeliacSure Test to see how effective this test is in the USA. We're providing 2 kits per family to use on first-degree relatives of people with celiac disease. To qualify, participants in the study must not be on a gluten-free diet. We send them the test kit to take as well as a survey about their ability to use and understand the test. The goal is that this small study comes out favorable [sic] so we can move on to large scale studies that will compare the finger prick test to the gold standard laboratory serology testing."

    Dr. Leffler says he's really excited about the potential of this point-of-care test because it will "allow us to reach a population that might not otherwise come in to get tested, mainly first degree relatives of patients already diagnosed with celiac disease."

    It's important to note that right now the CeliacSure test is only for research purposes, not actual diagnosis. It is available in Canada and other countries, but it's still under evaluation here in the United States. And, while the strep throat analogy is a great way to think about how this test will work, it's extremely important to understand that if you get a positive result with the CeliacSure test, do not start a gluten-free diet until you have followed up with a doctor to confirm the diagnosis.

    As with all medical studies there's some fine print you need to know about. Participants in the study must meet all of the following criteria:

    1. Over the age of 18
    2. A first or second degree relative with celiac disease
    3. Not previously diagnosed with celiac disease
    4. Not on a gluten-free diet or low-gluten diet within the past 3 months
    5. Able and willing to self administer the test, complete a short survey form and return both in the envelope provided
    6. Willingness to have follow up medical evaluation in the event of a positive test
    7. A resident of the United States

    Listen to a full interview with Dr. Leffler about the CeliacSure study on the Hold the Gluten Podcast (http://traffic.libsyn.com/holdthegluten/050_HoldTheGluten-05Apr2012.mp3) with Vanessa Maltin Weisbrod and Maureen Stanley now! And, if you would like to participate in the study, please contact Dr. Toufic Kabbani at celiac@bidmc.harvard.edu or by phone at 617-667-0528.

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    Interesting, but now it's almost 2018 and I've heard nothing more about this.

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  • About Me

    Vanessa Maltin Weisbrod is the Executive Editor of Delight Gluten-Free Magazine, an international publication geared towards people with food allergies, celiac disease and other medical conditions relating to food. In addition to the magazine, Vanessa also consults for a variety of gluten-free food manufactures and is an active member of the Advisory Board of the Celiac Disease Center at Children’s National Medical Center.

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    Celiac.com 06/15/2018 - There seems to be widespread agreement in the published medical research reports that stuttering is driven by abnormalities in the brain. Sometimes these are the result of brain injuries resulting from a stroke. Other types of brain injuries can also result in stuttering. Patients with Parkinson’s disease who were treated with stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus, an area of the brain that regulates some motor functions, experienced a return or worsening of stuttering that improved when the stimulation was turned off (1). Similarly, stroke has also been reported in association with acquired stuttering (2). While there are some reports of psychological mechanisms underlying stuttering, a majority of reports seem to favor altered brain morphology and/or function as the root of stuttering (3). Reports of structural differences between the brain hemispheres that are absent in those who do not stutter are also common (4). About 5% of children stutter, beginning sometime around age 3, during the phase of speech acquisition. However, about 75% of these cases resolve without intervention, before reaching their teens (5). Some cases of aphasia, a loss of speech production or understanding, have been reported in association with damage or changes to one or more of the language centers of the brain (6). Stuttering may sometimes arise from changes or damage to these same language centers (7). Thus, many stutterers have abnormalities in the same regions of the brain similar to those seen in aphasia.
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    There are many reports in such journals connecting brain and neurological ailments with gluten, so it is not much of a stretch, on that basis alone, to suspect that stuttering may be a symptom of the gluten syndrome. Rodney Ford has even characterized celiac disease as an ailment that may begin through gluten-induced neurological damage (13) and Marios Hadjivassiliou and his group of neurologists and neurological investigators have devoted considerable time and effort to research that reveals gluten as an important factor in a majority of neurological diseases of unknown origin (14) which, as I have pointed out previously, includes most neurological ailments.
    My own experience with stuttering is limited. I stuttered as a child when I became nervous, upset, or self-conscious. Although I have been gluten free for many years, I haven’t noticed any impact on my inclination to stutter when upset. I don’t know if they are related, but I have also had challenges with speaking when distressed and I have noticed a substantial improvement in this area since removing gluten from my diet. Nonetheless, I have long wondered if there is a connection between gluten consumption and stuttering. Having done the research for this article, I would now encourage stutterers to try a gluten free diet for six months to see if it will reduce or eliminate their stutter. Meanwhile, I hope that some investigator out there will research this matter, publish her findings, and start the ball rolling toward getting some definitive answers to this question.
    Sources:
    1. Toft M, Dietrichs E. Aggravated stuttering following subthalamic deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease--two cases. BMC Neurol. 2011 Apr 8;11:44.
    2. Tani T, Sakai Y. Stuttering after right cerebellar infarction: a case study. J Fluency Disord. 2010 Jun;35(2):141-5. Epub 2010 Mar 15.
    3. Lundgren K, Helm-Estabrooks N, Klein R. Stuttering Following Acquired Brain Damage: A Review of the Literature. J Neurolinguistics. 2010 Sep 1;23(5):447-454.
    4. Jäncke L, Hänggi J, Steinmetz H. Morphological brain differences between adult stutterers and non-stutterers. BMC Neurol. 2004 Dec 10;4(1):23.
    5. Kell CA, Neumann K, von Kriegstein K, Posenenske C, von Gudenberg AW, Euler H, Giraud AL. How the brain repairs stuttering. Brain. 2009 Oct;132(Pt 10):2747-60. Epub 2009 Aug 26.
    6. Galantucci S, Tartaglia MC, Wilson SM, Henry ML, Filippi M, Agosta F, Dronkers NF, Henry RG, Ogar JM, Miller BL, Gorno-Tempini ML. White matter damage in primary progressive aphasias: a diffusion tensor tractography study. Brain. 2011 Jun 11.
    7. Lundgren K, Helm-Estabrooks N, Klein R. Stuttering Following Acquired Brain Damage: A Review of the Literature. J Neurolinguistics. 2010 Sep 1;23(5):447-454.
    8. [No authors listed] Case records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Weekly clinicopathological exercises. Case 43-1988. A 52-year-old man with persistent watery diarrhea and aphasia. N Engl J Med. 1988 Oct 27;319(17):1139-48
    9. Molteni N, Bardella MT, Baldassarri AR, Bianchi PA. Celiac disease associated with epilepsy and intracranial calcifications: report of two patients. Am J Gastroenterol. 1988 Sep;83(9):992-4.
    10. http://ezinearticles.com/?Food-Allergy-and-Stuttering-Link&id=1235725 
    11. http://www.craig.copperleife.com/health/stuttering_allergies.htm 
    12. https://www.celiac.com/forums/topic/73362-any-help-is-appreciated/
    13. Ford RP. The gluten syndrome: a neurological disease. Med Hypotheses. 2009 Sep;73(3):438-40. Epub 2009 Apr 29.
    14. Hadjivassiliou M, Gibson A, Davies-Jones GA, Lobo AJ, Stephenson TJ, Milford-Ward A. Does cryptic gluten sensitivity play a part in neurological illness? Lancet. 1996 Feb 10;347(8998):369-71.