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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   04/24/2018

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What is Celiac Disease and the Gluten-Free Diet? What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease?  Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes
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    10TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CELIAC DISEASE RESEARCH YIELDS NEW FINDINGS ON PREVALENCE, SCREENING AND CELIAC-RELATED CONDITIONS BY MICHELLE MELIN-ROGOVIN


    admin

    This article originally appeared in the Summer 2002 edition of Celiac.coms Scott-Free newsletter.


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    On June 2, 2002, hundreds of researchers traveled from all over the world to Paris, France, in order to hear the latest scientific reports on celiac disease research and to present results from their own investigations. Over the course of three days, scientists presented dozens of reports, and displayed over a hundred posters covering all aspects of celiac disease, from laboratory research on the microbiologic aspects of the disease, to quality of life issues in patients who are on the gluten-free diet.

    There were so many exciting reports presented at the conference, and the following describes the research findings from these new reports concerning the screening and clinical presentation of celiac disease, osteoporosis and osteopathy and neurological conditions.

    SCREENING ISSUES IN CELIAC DISEASE
    In order to understand how best to screen populations for celiac disease, it is important to know how celiac disease affects a portion of the population, and how it compares to similar populations in other countries.

    Mayo Clinic Retrospective Study
    Dr. Joseph Murray from the Mayo Clinic conducted a retrospective study on the population of people living in Olmsted County, Minnesota. This county has kept medical records on all of its residents for over 100 years. Dr. Murray looked at the medical records to determine which residents were diagnosed with celiac disease from 1950 to 2001. He found 82 cases of celiac disease, with 58 in females and 24 in males. The average age of diagnosis was 45. Pediatric diagnoses of celiac disease during this time period were extremely rare.

    Dr. Murray found that while the diagnosis rate of dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) remained constant over the 51 year period, the diagnosis rate of celiac disease increased from 0.8 to 9.4 per 100,000 people. He also noted that over time, adults with celiac disease were less likely to present diarrhea and weight loss as symptoms. Encouragingly, he determined that the average life expectancy for a diagnosed celiac in this community was no less than that of the normal population, despite the fact that celiac disease was often diagnosed later in life.

    What does this mean?
    The celiac disease diagnosis rate in this county is much lower than the actual incidence rates that have been reported in other studies; however, that rate has greatly increased over the past 51 years. It is also noteworthy that so few children were diagnosed with celiac disease. The analysis highlights interesting and useful information about the presentation of celiac disease in adults, and about the potential life expectancy for people with celiac disease who are diagnosed later in life.

    United States and Europe Compared
    Dr. Carlo Catassi of Ancona, Italy is currently a visiting researcher at the University of Maryland Celiac Research Center. He presented an analysis of the similarities and differences between the clinical presentations of celiac disease in the United States and Europe.

    Dr. Catassi established that the prevalence of celiac disease in the U.S. and Europe are the same and range between 0.5 to 1.0 percent of the general population. The prevalence in at-risk populations is much higher, ranging between 5 and 10 percent, and the prevalence in people with Type 1 Diabetes is approximately 5 percent in both the U.S. and Europe.

    He found that the typical (symptomatic) cases of celiac disease were less common in the U.S., and that the latent (asymptomatic) cases were much more common. Dr. Catassi stated that these differences could be due to genetic factors (for example, there are more Asians in the United States than in Europe), but are more likely due to environmental factors. He noted that infants born in the U.S. are often breastfed longer than their European counterparts. There is also a lower gluten intake in the first months of life for infants in the U.S. The timing of the introduction of cereals could help explain why many American children have somewhat milder symptoms and a more unusual presentation of the disease.

    What does this mean?
    Dr. Catassis analysis underscores the need to better educate physicians in the U.S. so that they learn to see typically atypical signs of celiac disease in children and adults. He also reinforced the importance of breastfeeding as a protective factor for children with a genetic predisposition to celiac disease, which could also improve the outlook for European children in the future.

    United States Prevalence Research
    Dr. Alessio Fasano presented a poster which outlined his recent findings that are a follow-up to his now famous 1996 blood screening study. The original study found that 1 in 250 Americans had celiac disease. It was performed using anti-gliadin antibodies (AGA), and when a blood sample tested AGA positive it was confirmed using anti-endomysial (EMA) antibody testing.

    Now that human tissue transglutaminase (tTG) testing is available, Dr. Fasano and his colleagues wanted to see if the results of their original study would be different using the tTG test. He and his colleagues tested the negative samples in the original study, and found 10 more positives using the tTG test. Two of these samples were confirmed positive when checked using the AGA antibody test. Dr. Fasano concluded that the original (1996) prevalence estimate of 1 in 250 understated the true prevalence rate, which could actually be greater than 1 in 200 Americans.

    Dr. Michelle Pietzak, a pediatric gastroenterologist at the University of California at Los Angeles, also presented a poster which described the prevalence of celiac disease in Southern California. In a study of 1,094 participants, Dr. Pietzak found that 8% of Hispanics tested positive for celiac disease. The most common symptoms presented by subjects in her study included abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, joint pain and chronic fatigue.

    What does this mean?
    It is important to understand that the foundation of all U.S. prevalence research on celiac disease began with the blood donor study performed by Dr. Fasano in 1996. His newly revised findings, which have been supported by at least one other major study, show that the prevalence of celiac disease in the U.S. population is much higher than originally believed, and that it could be greater than 1 in 200 people. Additionally, the California study is one of the first to establish a celiac disease prevalence figure for the Hispanic population in the U.S., and if the 8 percent figure is supported by further research it would indicate that celiac disease significantly affects Hispanic Americans.

    OSTEOPOROSIS AND OSTEOPATHY
    Dr. Julio Bai of Argentina presented important information on a condition that affects many people with celiac disease, and one that is often overlooked by physicians—osteoporosis or osteopathy (its milder form). Both children and adults with celiac disease can have low bone mineral density, and its method of treatment can have important consequences.

    Dr. Bai treats adults with bone loss, and has studied the nature of fractures and bone health in adults with celiac disease. In a case-control study of 78 celiac disease patients, Dr. Bai found that symptomatic patients were more likely to experience bone fractures than the normal population. Interestingly, he also found that patients with latent (asymptomatic) celiac disease had lower fracture rates than those with symptoms, and that the rate was equal to that of the normal population. None of the patients, however, experienced a fracture of the more serious type—in the hip, spine or shoulder, and the fractures tended to occur in their arms, legs, hands and feet.

    The doctor also discussed preliminary evidence which showed that most women with osteopathy and celiac disease who go on a gluten free diet will experience an improvement in bone density, while many men do not. There was, however, no difference found between the fracture rates of men and women.

    Dr. Bai also found that nutritional and metabolic deficiencies in patients with celiac disease and osteopathy might also contribute to fractures by weakening the muscles that surround essential bones. He added that immunological factors could also enhance or inhibit bone rebuilding, and that there is a bone-specific tissue transglutaminase (tTG) that plays a role in this process.

    What does this mean?
    It was certainly good news to hear that most people with low bone density due to celiac disease can reverse the damaging process, and if celiac-related fractures do occur they tend to be of the less serious type. Additionally, it was interesting to learn just how important a role muscle health plays in preventing celiac-related fractures.

    Osteopathy in Children
    Dr. Mora, an Italian researcher, presented data on osteopathy in children with celiac disease. His results indicate that a gluten-free diet can improve bone mass, and the effect is maintained even after 10 years. He also added that a gluten-free diet improved the overall bone metabolism of the children, and that the diet alone could cure their osteopathy.

    Osteopenia and Osteoporosis: Conditions Related to Celiac Disease
    In a chart prepared by Dr. David Sanders of the United Kingdom, data on 674 patients, 243 with osteoporosis and 431 with osteopenia, were presented. He found 10 cases of celiac disease among a mostly female population that had an average age of 53. In all ten cases, patients either had a history of iron-deficient anemia or gastrointestinal symptoms. He concluded that all patients with osteopenia or osteoporosis and a history of anemia or gastrointestinal symptoms should be screened for celiac disease.

    What does this mean?
    Dr. Sanders has identified a subset of people with osteoporosis and osteopenia that should be screened for celiac disease—those who have been anemic or have gastrointestinal symptoms. This helps physicians know when to refer patients for celiac disease screening.

    NEUROLOGICAL SYMPTOMS
    Dr. Marios Hadjivassiliou of the United Kingdom presented data on neurological symptoms and gluten sensitivity. In an eight-year study, Dr. Hadjivassiliou screened people who had neurological symptoms of unknown origin using the anti-gliadin antibody (AGA) test. He found that 57 percent of these patients had antibodies present in their blood, compared to 12 percent of healthy controls or 5 percent of patients with a neurological condition of known origin.
    From this group, he studied 158 patients with gluten sensitivity and neurological conditions of unknown origin (only 33 percent of these patients had any gastrointestinal symptoms). The most common neurological conditions in this group were ataxia, peripheral neuropathies, myopathy, and encephalopathy (very severe headache). Less common were stiff person syndrome, myelopathy and neuromyotonia.

    He noted that ataxia is not a result of vitamin deficiencies, but is instead an immune-mediated condition. Patients with ataxia have unique antibodies that are not found in patients with celiac disease. Dr. Hadjivassiliou felt that up to 30 percent of idiopathic neuropathies could be gluten-related, and that there is preliminary evidence which indicates that a gluten-free diet is helpful in cases of neuropathy and ataxia.

    What does this mean?
    It is interesting to note that Dr. Hadjivassiliou has studied gluten sensitivity and not celiac disease. The test used in this study is not specific enough to identify people who were likely to have celiac disease. However, his finding that the gluten-free diet may be helpful in people with certain types of neuropathy and ataxia opens the door for further research on these conditions in people with celiac disease.


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    Guest Ktimene Gembol

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    As a celiac who suffered immensely until a family (grandmother, father, self) diagnosis at 20 years old, I am terrified at the implications on longevity and general health. I now embrace the gluten-free life with much gusto, but still have a nagging fear about damage done. I like to get a good dose of reality here.

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    Guest Lynette Seader

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    Informative, takes away the fear after diagnosis of living a longer life.

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    Michelle Melin-Rogovin
    Celiac.com 07/02/2002 (Summary prepared 06/05/2002) - I'm here at the 10th International Celiac Disease Research Conference, in Paris, and three days of intense meetings and reports have just concluded. I didn't want to wait to share with you some of the most interesting and exciting developments in celiac disease--so I'm in a cyber cafe in Paris sending this e-mail.
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    Did you know there was more than one kind of tTG (tissue Transglutaminase)?...I didn't! There is an epidermal transglutaminase that is present in dermatitis herpetiformis...this difference may indicate why people with DH are much more sensitive to gluten than those with celiac disease.
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    Dr. Michele Pietzak, in California, did a prevalence study of at-risk conditions in children and found that 14% of children with iron-deficiency anemia had celiac disease. A group in Salt Lake found that 10% of children with Downs Syndrome had celiac disease, and the Childrens Hospital of Milwaukee found that 7% of children with type 1 diabetes have celiac disease. This is a strong case for screening all children with these conditions.
    Speaking in reference to children, Dr. Catassi said that weaning practices in the US and other countries are having a bigger role in the development of celiac disease than previously thought.
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    Another area of research concerned gluten-related ataxia (a complicated condition that I dont fully know how to describe, but includes muscle weakness and confusion). Overall, it was reported that 6-10% of celiac patients may develop neurological problems (of which gluten-related ataxia is only one). This is another case where celiacs with ataxia may produce different antibodies (like in DH) which lead to the development of ataxia. Most importantly, ataxia does not develop as a result of a nutrient deficiency.
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    One more thing: I apologize for the incompleteness of my e-mail if any researcher or physician finds that I have not best described their work--I'm summarizing my notes after a very long three days of meetings and my brain cells may be a bit dysfunctional. I will clarify any information and send abstracts to anyone who would like them, just send me your snail mail address.
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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 04/19/2018 - Previous genome and linkage studies indicate the existence of a new disease triggering mechanism that involves amino acid metabolism and nutrient sensing signaling pathways. In an effort to determine if amino acids might play a role in the development of celiac disease, a team of researchers recently set out to investigate if plasma amino acid levels differed among children with celiac disease compared with a control group.
     
    The research team included Åsa Torinsson Naluai, Ladan Saadat Vafa, Audur H. Gudjonsdottir, Henrik Arnell, Lars Browaldh, and Daniel Agardh. They are variously affiliated with the Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; the Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; the Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Karolinska University Hospital and Division of Pediatrics, CLINTEC, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; the Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institute, Sodersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden; the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden; the Diabetes & Celiac Disease Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden; and with the Nathan S Kline Institute in the U.S.A.
    First, the team used liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS) to analyze amino acid levels in fasting plasma samples from 141 children with celiac disease and 129 non-celiac disease controls. They then crafted a general linear model using age and experimental effects as covariates to compare amino acid levels between children with celiac disease and non-celiac control subjects.
    Compared with the control group, seven out of twenty-three children with celiac disease showed elevated levels of the the following amino acids: tryptophan; taurine; glutamic acid; proline; ornithine; alanine; and methionine.
    The significance of the individual amino acids do not survive multiple correction, however, multivariate analyses of the amino acid profile showed significantly altered amino acid levels in children with celiac disease overall and after correction for age, sex and experimental effects.
    This study shows that amino acids can influence inflammation and may play a role in the development of celiac disease.
    Source:
    PLoS One. 2018; 13(3): e0193764. doi: & 10.1371/journal.pone.0193764