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New Medical Language Makes Gluten-Sensitivity and Celiac Disease Separate Disorders
Celiac.com 03/16/2012 - It's official! After an international conference to address gluten-sensitivity, fifteen experts from seven countries have announced the development of a nomenclature and classification system making gluten-sensitivity a distinct and separate condition from celiac disease.
Their work on establishing universal medical terms for gluten-sensitivity may serve as a guide to improve the diagnosis and treatment of gluten-related disorders. The experts have published their conclusions and recommendations in "Spectrum of Gluten-Related Disorders: Consensus on New Nomenclature and Classification," which includes a diagnostic roadmap for clinicians. The new consensus appears in the journal BMC Medicine.
The conference was co-chaired by Alessio Fasano, M.D., professor of pediatrics, medicine and physiology and director of the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research (CFCR) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, along with Carlo Catassi, M.D., M.P.H., co-director of CFCR and professor of pediatrics at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona, Italy, and Anna Sapone, M.D., Ph.D., of the Seconda Universita of Naples.
Gluten sensitivity, a condition causing gastrointestinal distress and other clinical symptoms, has been identified by the international panel of experts as a distinct entity on the spectrum of gluten-related disorders that includes wheat allergy and celiac disease.
“For the first time," says Dr. Catassi, "we have provided an accurate diagnostic procedure for gluten sensitivity. We have confirmed that to correctly diagnose gluten sensitivity, we need to exclude celiac disease and wheat allergy with the appropriate diagnostic tests.”
Whereas about 1 in a hundred or so people has celiac disease, Dr. Fassano estimates about "60 to 70 percent" of the people coming to his clinic for treatment actually suffer from gluten sensitivity.
Overall, an estimated six percent of people of European descent may be affected by gluten sensitivity, which would make it of the most common pathologies in the world today.
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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