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    National Celiac Groups Attend Advocacy Efforts in Washington DC


    Scott Adams

    Summary prepared by Nancy Kloberdanz as a joint effort of all the national celiac organizations GIG, CDF, CSA/USA, and ACS.


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    Celiac organizations and patients from several states recently attended two very important educational lobbying efforts in Washington DC. The Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF), American Celiac Society (ACS), and Celiac Sprue Association/United States of America (CSA/USA) were formally represented, and were advocates for the Digestive Disease National Coalition (DDNC) and National Institute for Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). Our goals in lobbying were twofold. First to encourage the Senators and Representatives we visited to support a 16.5 % increase in the Budget for NIH (National Institutes of Health) and to provide $405 million to NIAMS in fiscal year 2001. This money is important in efforts to double the NIH budget by 2003. NIH is the major funding organization for research that is supported by government grants. Often research that may not seem directly linked to celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis, is beneficial to our disease and others. A good example is the Genome Project. Genetic mapping will help researchers refine their research and hopefully speed efforts to find causes and cures for diseases.

    The second goal was to increase awareness and educate about our particular disease. We accomplished this very well. On March 19, 2001, celiac disease had the largest patient representative group at the DDNC, and reached nearly 20 representatives. Members of DDNC and NIH were very impressed by our representation of celiac disease. The following week we had 3 representatives attend the NIAMS Advocacy efforts. While visiting our Congress people we had the opportunity to tell our stories and explain how legislative decisions impact us individually, as well as share some facts about celiac disease/DH. Fact Sheets and other materials were left in each congressional office that we visited.

    DDNC represents many gastrointestinal disease organizations. We are pleased that all the national celiac organizations are members of this coalition. NIAMS and CPA-SDR (Coalition of Patient Advocates for Skin Disease Research) are the coalition groups that the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) is a member of, in order to represent persons with dermatitis herpetiformis. Work by coalitions such as these is very important. These coalitions are strong forces with great influence in the medical areas they represent.

    Patient advocacy work is important, however, you should also know that nonprofit groups (501c3) are severely limited by law in the amount of funding that can go toward advocacy work. In this regard we need your help, please:

    • Write to your Congress people about your disease and encourage them to support the NIH budget increase. Send them copies of the Fact Sheet. Visit them when they are at home (usually weekends and Mondays).
    • Join the national celiac organizations in representing a united, common voice. We are strongest when we speak as one. The more voices saying the same thing the better. Let your national group(s) know you want to participate in these activities. The Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF), American Celiac Society (ACS), and Celiac Sprue Association/United States of America(CSA/USA) were formally represented. DDNC and NIAMS groups are often invited to participate in advocacy work throughout the year.
    • Plan to come to Washington DC next year. Often Congress people are very busy and sometimes selective in whom they see. They want to hear from their constituents. An example was a Senator from California who wanted to see constituents from her district. If there had not been a representative from California on a team, that senator would not have heard about Celiac Disease.
    • We need representatives from as many states as possible. Although, our lobbying efforts are at the mercy of the Congress schedule, these events often take place in March or April.
    • Offer to testify. Testifying before Budget and Health Committees is by written invitation only. First we must write letters asking permission to testify and then wait to be approved. It is a wonderful experience to express our story in this manner. Children and people severely affected by the disease are the most influential.
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    MedScape Today

    Diana Gitig Ph.D.
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    Am J Gastroenterol advance online publication, 5 April 2011; doi: 10.1038/ajg.2011.80

    Jefferson Adams
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    Dr. Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.
    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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    Whatever the reason that stuttering has not been reported in the medical literature in association with gluten ingestion, a number of personal disclosures and comments suggesting a connection between gluten and stuttering can be found on the Internet. Abid Hussain, in an article about food allergy and stuttering said: “The most common food allergy prevalent in stutterers is that of gluten which has been found to aggravate the stutter” (10). Similarly, Craig Forsythe posted an article that includes five cases of self-reporting individuals who believe that their stuttering is or was connected to gluten, one of whom also experiences stuttering from foods containing yeast (11). The same site contains one report of a stutterer who has had no relief despite following a gluten free diet for 20 years (11). Another stutterer, Jay88, reports the complete disappearance of her/his stammer on a gluten free diet (12). Doubtless there are many more such anecdotes to be found on the Internet* but we have to question them, exercising more skepticism than we might when reading similar claims in a peer reviewed scientific or medical journal.
    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.

    Jefferson Adams
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    They also noted a higher frequency of surface CD3(−) IELs in cases with clonal TCR-GR, but the PCP pattern showed no associations with any clinical or pathological feature. 
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    Source:
    Journal of Clinical Pathologyhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jclinpath-2018-205023