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Long-Term Mortality in People With Celiac Disease Diagnosed in Childhood Compared With Adulthood: A Population-Based Cohort Study
Celiac.com 04/04/2012 - After numerous studies over several decades showing higher mortality rates in people with celiac disease, including a comprehensive study in 2009, published in Gastroenterology, news of a recent UK study, finding mortality rates for people with untreated celiac disease that are similar to the general population, has raised a few eyebrows.
With diverse study data fueling differing opinions, questions regarding long-term mortality in people with celiac disease will likely take time to resolve.
In the meantime, a review of scientific literature brought up this small 2007 study. In it, a research team compared long-term mortality rates in people diagnosed with celiac disease as children with rates for those diagnosed as adults. They wanted to find out how those rates might differ and if the rates might be related to the disease and the length of gluten exposure before diagnosis.
To find an answer, the team gathered data for 285 children and 340 adults diagnosed with celiac disease. They continued to gather data for each until the end of 2004, excepting those who failed to follow up for other reasons.
From their data, the team calculated standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) for the period starting five years after patient diagnosis. They found that adults diagnosed with celiac disease had 38% higher mortality rates (SMR 1.38, 95% CI 1.16-1.63). Children on the other hand, faced rates three-times higher (SMR 3.32, 95% CI 2.05-5.07).
This excess mortality in children was mainly due to higher rates of death from accidents, suicide, and violence (seven deaths, SMR 3.22, 95% CI 1.29-6.63), cancer (five deaths, SMR 3.72, 95% CI 1.21-8.67), and cerebrovascular disease (two deaths, SMR 10.03, 95% CI 1.21-36.00).
The 2007 study found that adults with celiac disease face a modest increase in mortality rates over the long-term, but that mortality rates for those diagnosed with celiac disease as children were three-times higher starting five years after diagnosis.
The team proposed that the increased mortality in children from external causes may be due to behavioral changes associated with living with life-long celiac disease and its treatment.
Stay tuned for further developments regarding mortality rates in people with celaic disease.
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Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams