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European Study Will Focus on Relation of Gut Bacteria to Autoimmune Disease in Children

Celiac.com 06/19/08 - Today in most modern countries, children are being raised in bacteria-free environments, yet studies are seeing a rising incidence of autoimmune disease and allergies. Previous studies have found that Finnish children are six times more likely to have type 1 diabetes and a five times higher rate of celiac disease than Russian children despite equal genetic susceptibility. Over-cleanliness and life-style may be promoting the higher prevalence of these disorders.

The Diabimmune study, backed by the EU with EUR 6 million in financing, is asking whether by removing all bacteria, we are not actually weakening our children's immune systems. Led by the University of Helsinki, researchers from 5 European countries will collaborate on Diabimmune, a study involving some 7000 children which will last from 2008-2013. The study will focus on the development of the intestinal bacterial flora after birth, the effect that the living environment has on the composition of the bacterial flora, the effect infections have on the maturation of the human immune system, and the operation of the white blood cells that regulate immune responses. In addition, the researchers will examine whether the protection conferred by infections against autoimmune and allergic responses is associated with the overall infection load or due to specific microbes. It is expected that the results will provide much needed insight into celiac disease, other autoimmune disorders, and allergies.

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For the first time, researchers will comprehensively monitor the composition of microbes populating the intestines of developing infants and study how the microbes may influence the development of allergies and autoimmune disease, including celiac disease. Finally, conclusive evidence may be found which may answer the question of whether gut bacteria is involved the pathogenesis of celiac disease.

Are immune systems becoming lazy?
European Research Headlines 18 June 2008
http://ec.europa.eu/research/headlines/news/article_08_06_18_en.html

Researchers from five countries to test hygiene hypothesis with EU funding
University of Helsinki 29 May 2008
http://www.med.helsinki.fi/english/news/20080529_DIABIMMUNE.htm

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I'm in the Houston area so I'm assuming there are plenty of specialists around, though finding one that accepts my insurance might be hard. This might sound dumb, but do I search for a celiac specialist?? I'm so new to this and want to feel confident in what is/isn't wrong with my daughter. I'm with you on trusting the specialist to know the current research.

Hi VB Thats sounds like a good plan. Would it help to know that a frustrating experience in seeking diagnosis isn't unusual With your IGG result I'm sure a part of you is still wondering if they are right to exclude celiac. I know just how you feel as I too had a negative biopsy, but by then a gluten challenge had already established how severely it affected me. So I was convinced I would be found to be celiac and in a funny way disappointed not to get the 'official' stamp of approval. Testing isnt perfect, you've already learned of the incomplete celiac tests offered by some organisations and the biopsy itself can only see so much. If you react positively to the gluten free diet it may mean you're celiac but not yet showing damage in a place they've checked, or it may be that you're non celiac gluten sensitive, which is a label that for a different but perhaps related condition which has only recently been recognised and for which research is still very much underway. We may not be able to say which but the good news is all of your symptoms: were also mine and they all resolved with the gluten free diet. So don't despair, you may still have found your answer, it just may be a bit wordier than celiac! Keep a journal when you're on the diet, it may help you track down your own answers. Best of luck!

Run to the nearest celiac disease specialty center if you can. Especially with conflicting doc opinions. Where do you live? Honestly, I test positive to only the DGP and the newest research on its specificity is a mixed bag. My recent scope did not show "active" celiac disease but only a slight increase in IELs. I am waiting for my post biopsy appointment with the Celiac specialist next month. But I've been through a couple of GI'S locally and honestly I feel it was definitely worth going to a specialist. Especially when you have some positive blood work but a normal biopsy the doctors really go back and Forth on diagnosis and never really know for certain. Unfortunately given the above I just said I probably still do not know for certain. Sigh. But I trust the specialist to be at the top of his game on the research and at least I can feel confident and comfortable in what his opinion may be next month.

That's a great list with such great info! Do you eat at Shucks?

I just got a call from the Kaiser GI department. The doctor who performed the endoscopy was supposed to call me with the results and instead the receptionist did. She said "Dr. X says your biopsy was normal and you do not have celiac disease." Word for word, that's it! So not only did I not get to talk to her the day of my procedure, but not at all! They are printing copy of the biopsy pathology report for me and I'll get it tomorrow. I want to see if it says how many samples they took. At this point, I still feel like crap, still have symptoms and I'm going to try a gluten-free diet to see how I improve, get blood tests again eventually.