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    Scott Adams

    Response to NY Times Article: Confirming a Diagnosis of Celiac Disease

    Scott Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    I wrote this response below to address a recent New York Times article: Confirming a Diagnosis of Celiac Disease.

    Celiac.com 01/13/2010 - The problem with current diagnosis criteria for celiac disease is that it takes a certain degree of damage to intestinal villi in order to get a formal diagnosis. Since celiac disease with villi damage are just one manifestation of a much broader and more widespread problem--gluten sensitivity--many people who could still develop serious health problems if they continue to eat gluten, will go undiagnosed under the current definition of celiac disease.



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    The reality of gluten sensitivity is that around 7 to 12% of the US population test positive for antibodies which are an indicator that their immune system is mounting a response to gliadin, the part of gluten that causes the reaction in those who are sensitive. Many of these people may never get flattened villi, however, many may end up with other conditions that are triggered by gluten exposure in sensitive individuals, for example nerve damage (ataxia), liver problems, diabetes, thyroid issues, etc..

    In the past 10 years the diagnostic criteria for celiac disease have been changed significantly to include various degrees of villi damage (Marsh Criteria), and as a result, more people are now being properly diagnosed. In the next 10 years I predict that blood tests alone will replace the use of all biopsy results to diagnose celiac disease, as they are a far more sensitive indicator of gluten sensitivity. Once this happens we will finally reach a point where those affected can be properly treated and avoid the risk of the many disorders that have been associated with sensitive individuals who eat gluten, some of which are described here.

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    Thank you Scott! It's so wonderful to know someone is speaking out for those who are gluten sensitive.

    Gluten sensitive sibling of a celiac.

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    Dear Scott,

    I greatly support your efforts to clarify that health problems associated with malnutrition (induced by shortened or flattened intestinal villi), are only the part of health disturbances induced and/or sustained by immune mediated reaction induced by gluten. Zorica

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    I think it's wonderful if we can get away from doing the invasive testing to confirm celiac. However, it is well known that the blood test has a high rate of false negatives (I'm living proof of that). I think the medical community needs to be more open to other types of testing to pin down this diagnosis.

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    Bravo! It is imperative the medical community replace the outdated "Gold Standard" of flattened villi for diagnosing celiac with immediate cost-effect testing which addresses the needs of today's populations to prevent further damage from occurring.

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    I really appreciated your article and the points you made in response to Dr. Crowe's article. I also posted a response to her article.

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  • About Me

    Scott Adams 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. In 1995 he launched the site that later became Celiac.com to help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives.  He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of the (formerly paper) newsletter Journal of Gluten Sensitivity. In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. Celiac.com does not sell any products, and is 100% advertiser supported.


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