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Celiac.com 02/11/2014 - More and more people are reporting gastrointestinal symptoms that improve when wheat and/or gluten are removed from the diet. There is a diverse group of people who avoid wheat and/or gluten (PWAWGs), and who predominantly self-diagnose prior to presenting for clinical evaluation for celiac disease. A team of researchers recently set out to compare patients who avoid wheat and/or gluten against patients with celiac disease, and with healthy control subjects. The research team included A. Tavakkoli, S.K. Lewis, C.A. Tennyson, B. Lebwohl, and P.H. Green, all with the Department of Medicine of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University in New York, NY. The team set out to characterize PWAWGs who were receiving treatment at a tertiary care referral center and to compare them to patients with celiac disease, and with subjects from the National Health and Nutrition examination survey (NHANES). The team conducted a cross-sectional study to evaluate patients seen by four gastroenterologists at a celiac disease referral center. They compared baseline characteristics, laboratory values, and medical comorbidities for these patients against results for celiac disease patients who presented at the same center, as well as for subjects enrolled in NHANES. The team compared results for eighty-four PWAWGs against results for 585 celiac disease patients and 2,686 NHANES patients. The found that doctors made a total of thirty-two alternative diagnoses in 25 PWAWGs (30%). Diagnoses included small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and fructose/lactose intolerance. When compared to patients with celiac patients, PWAWGs had similar body mass index (BMI, 23.1 vs. 23.5, p = 0.54) and mean hemoglobin value (13.4 vs. 13.3, p = 0.6). When compared to male and female patients in NHANES, PWAWGS showed lower BMI, folate, and mean hemoglobin values, while both male and female PWAWGs had a lower prevalence of hypertension. While there are similarities between celiac disease patients and PWAWGs that could arise from shared HLA haplotypes or result from the gluten-free diet, alternative diagnoses are common in these patients. PWAWGs have a similar cardiovascular profile as celiac disease patients in terms of lower BMI and lower prevalence of hypertension. Source: Dig Dis Sci. 2013 Dec 28.
Celiac.com 10/30/2012 - Many celiac sufferers have stories of discrimination and/or ignorance from coworkers, peers and employers but none have been quite as high profile as the current dispute between actress Jennifer Esposito and CBS. Esposito, a sufferer of celiac disease, plays one of the main characters in the CBS drama 'Blue Bloods'. After Esposito requested a reduced schedule to manage her condition, CBS took steps that have Esposito, her fans, and celiac sufferers everywhere rallying to her cause. The apparent point of contention between CBS and Esposito is the idea that celiac disease warrants special treatment (or perhaps that Esposito even has it). After the actress collapsed on set two months ago, her doctor recommended a significantly reduced work schedule. CBS was unwilling to comply, and evidently skeptical that there was ever anything wrong with the actress. According to Esposito, “CBS implied that I was not truly ill and this was a scheme to get a raise!” In a statement released over the weekend, CBS seems to suggest that it has more to do with the demands of the role than the disease: “Jennifer has informed us that she is only available to work a very limited part-time schedule. As a result, she's unable to perform the demands of her role and we regretfully had to put her character on a leave of absence.” Esposito claims that they have done much more than put her character on leave of absence: “CBS put me on unpaid leave and has blocked me from working anywhere else after my doctor said you needed a reduced schedule due to Celiac.” According to Esposito, it has been two months since the incident and Esposito still hasn't been invited back to the show. She also claims that CBS rejected her recent attempts to reopen negotiations. It seems unlikely that there was no possibility of compromise here, and CBS's actions come across as both excessive and insensitive. It is not uncommon for sufferers of celiac disease to face accusations of hypochondria, so Esposito's struggle with CBS could be seen as having symbolic significance. She speaks for many when she says “truly a very sad day when you can be bullied at my age with a disease”. Sources: http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/tv/blue-bloods-actress-jennifer-esposito-suspended-1.4141858 http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/blogs/jennifer-esposito-slams-cbs-over-celiac-disease-struggles