Some of you may be familiar with PubMed, a searchable database of scientific literature provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.
If you have never visited the PubMed website, I encourage you to do so.
Type “celiac disease” into the search engine and you will get an idea of the wealth of research from around the world being published on celiac disease. Abstracts are available for most articles free of charge and an increasing number of full text articles are available free as well. Most others can be purchased.
Yes, these articles are technical in nature and they are written for a medical audience. Nonetheless, much of the information is understandable enough and one huge benefit is that you are receiving the information straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak — no spin and no filtering!
During one of my frequent visits to PubMed, several interesting articles caught my attention including, “Prevalence of celiac disease among dyspeptic patients: A community-based case-control study,” “Prevalence of celiac disease in Iranian children with idiopathic short stature,” “How frequent is celiac disease among epileptic patients,” and “Diagnosing mild enteropathy celiac disease: a randomized, controlled clinical study.”
I read the abstracts for all of them but it was the latter article that really grabbed my attention. The abstract is summarized below. If it piques your attention, please go to PubMed and read the entire abstract [Kurppa K, et al. Gastroenterology. 2008;Nov (epub ahead of print)]. You may actually find that you want to read the entire article as I did.
Seventy persons who had positive endomysial antibodies underwent intestinal biopsy. Of these, 23 had mild enteropathy that did not meet diagnostic criteria for celiac disease and 47 had mucosal lesions consistent with celiac disease. The 23 study participants with mild enteropathy were randomized to follow either a gluten-free diet or continue with their regular gluten-containing diet.
After one year these 23 individuals were reevaluated. Those who followed a gluten-free diet had improvements in symptoms, antibody levels, and mucosal inflammation similar to the 47 who were diagnosed with celiac disease and followed a gluten-free diet. Those who continued to follow a regular gluten-containing diet continued to have symptoms, positive endomysial antibodies, and experienced a worsening of their mucosal inflammation.
Researchers concluded that, “Patients with endomysial antibodies benefit from a GFD regardless of the degree of enteropathy. The diagnostic criteria for celiac disease need re-evaluation: endomysial antibody positivity without atrophy belongs to the spectrum of genetic gluten intolerance, and warrants dietary treatment.”
Happy researching and reading!
Copyright © by Tricia Thompson, MS, RD
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