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Celiac.com 02/09/2009 - Doctors are recommending simple, low-cost blood tests to screen for celiac disease in patients who have Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) with low serum ferritin, but who otherwise show no clear cause for iron deficiency. Low iron reserves are a known risk factor Restless Leg Syndrome, as blood iron levels below 45-50ng/mL have been tied to more severe expressions of RLS. In fact, iron levels are so important to assessing RLS, that it is now common for doctors to test blood ferritin levels when first assessing Restless Leg Syndrome. Celiac disease is a common genetic disorder of the immune system that can cause iron deficiency. Doctors S. Manchanda, C.R. Davies, and D. Picchietti of the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently set out to determine if celiac disease might play a role in iron deficiency in patients with Restless Leg Syndrome. The doctors evaluated a series of four patients with Restless Leg Syndrome and blood ferritin below 25ng/mL, who had shown positive blood tests for celiac disease. Doctors confirmed celiac disease for all four patients via duodenal biopsy and positive reaction to a gluten-free diet. In each case, Restless Leg Syndrome symptoms improved, with two patients discontinuing Restless Leg Syndrome medication and two responding positively without medication. The doctors are recommending simple, low-cost blood tests to screen for celiac disease in patients who have Restless Leg Syndrome with low serum ferritin, but who otherwise show no clear cause for iron deficiency. They also note that diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease is likely to improve the outcome for those patients with Restless Leg Syndrome, as well as to better identify people at risk for the significant long-term complications associated with celiac disease. Restless Leg Syndrome is just the latest neurological disorder to show a connection to celiac disease. Stay tuned as more information becomes available. Source: Sleep Med. 2009 Jan 10. PMID: 19138881
Celiac.com 02/20/2009 - Doctors are recommending screening for bone density in children with newly diagnosed celiac disease. A team of researchers recently set out to evaluate children with celiac disease for bone deficits in spine (SP) and whole body (WB) bone mineral content (BMC) at time of diagnosis, and to evaluate whether such deficits are associated with deviations in growth and body composition. Additionally, the team sought to assess the effect of histological grade on BMC. The research team was made up of doctors Muralidhar Jatla, Zemel, S. Babette, Patricia Bierly, and Ritu Verma associated with the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia Their study was supported by the Nutrition Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Clinical and Translational Research Center from Clinical and Translational Science Award UL1-RR0241340. Their findings were reported in a recent issue of Gastroenterology. The team conducted a retrospective study that compared the results of children who had undergone a dual energy x-ray absorptiometry scan at the time of their celiac disease diagnosis against a healthy reference sample matched for age, race and geographic region in the United States. All celiac disease diagnosis occurred between October 1, 2003, and June 15, 2006. To evaluate differences between the celiac disease and the control group, the research team expressed SP and WB BMC as sex-specific z scores relative to age and relative to height. They performed Pearson correlation, t tests, and analysis of variance to assess predictors of BMC. They evaluated a total of forty-four children with celiac disease and compared them with 338 healthy controls. The celiac children averaged 10.6 ± 3.4 years of age, were 77% female, and 96% white. The children with celiac disease were shorter than their healthy counterparts of similar age, sex and region. The children with celiac disease also showed significantly lower SP and WB BMC for age z scores compared with controls. The children with celiac showed significant deficits in WB BMC, even once the figures were adjusted for height. Low SP and WB BMC were associated with advanced histological grade in celiac disease. Low body mass index was associated with low WB BMC in celiac disease. The research team concluded that screening for low bone mineral content may benefit children who are newly diagnosed with celiac disease, as those with low body mass index and those with advanced histological damage (Marsh grade IIIc) face an elevated risk of osteopenia. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition:Volume 48(2)February 2009p 175-180
The following abstract was submitted to celiac.com directly by William Dickey, Ph.D., a leading celiac disease researcher and gastroenterologist who practices at Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 2005; 40: 1240-3. Dickey W, Hughes DF, McMillan SA. Celiac.com 09/27/2005 - What does a positive endomysial antibody (EmA) test mean if the biopsy does not show villous atrophy? The authors studied 35 patients where this was the case. In the authors practice, these patients account for 10% of all EmA positives. Firstly, the lack of villous atrophy did not necessarily mean a normal biopsy: 14 patients had excess inflammatory cells (lymphocytes) consistent with a mild abnormality of gluten sensitivity. Secondly, many of these patients had typical celiac features: twelve had a family history of celiac, five had dermatitis herpetiformis and thirteen had osteopenia or osteoporosis on DEXA scan. After discussion, 27 patients opted to take a gluten-free diet from the first biopsy: 26 of these had clinical improvement. Seven of eight patients who persisted with a normal diet developed villous atrophy on follow-up biopsies. The authors conclude that a positive EmA result indicates gluten sensitivity even if biopsies do not show villous atrophy. While a biopsy remains important as a baseline reference, these patients should be offered a gluten-free diet to allow clinical improvement and prevent the development of villous atrophy. There may be no such thing as a "false positive" EmA, although the authors emphasise that the same conclusion cannot yet be applied to tissue transglutaminase antibody results.
Gut 2000;46:332-335 (Celiac.com 03/17/2000) In the latest issue of Gut, Italian researchers propose that celiac disease is more common than previously thought, and that pregnant women should be screened for celiac disease. They conclude that a screening could help women to avoid negative outcomes and miscarriages. Dr. L. Greco and his colleagues from the University of Naples Federico II screened blood samples from 845 pregnant women in an effort to determine the prevalence of celiac disease. They looked for elevated levels of endomysial antibodies against tissue transglutaminase to determine how many of them had celiac disease. Out of the 845, women 12 had celiac disease (1.4%), and only three of the 12 had been previously diagnosed and were not following a gluten-free diet. The other nine women underwent a small intestinal biopsy to confirm their diagnosis. Out of the 12 diagnosed women, seven had either a pre-term delivery, or their babies were smaller than normal. Out of the remaining five women, four had had at least one miscarriage. Three of the babies died. When following up with 11 of the women, eight had another pregnancy and seven of them had reached term at the time of publication. Out of the eight women, five followed a gluten-free diet, and six of their babies turned out healthy. According to the researchers: Coeliac disease is considerably more common than most of the diseases for which pregnant women are routinely screened. The authors conclude: Consideration should be given to screening for coeliac disease in pregnancy, because of the high incidence of avoidable outcomes and the chance of reversibility through consumption of a gluten-free diet.