Coeliacs can eat gluten: study


Coeliac disease, which can cause stomach cramping, pain, bloating, diarrhea, and weight loss, is caused by allergy to gluten, mainly found in wheat.

How the study was done
Researchers, led by Dr. Maria Louisa Marin of Leiden University Medical Center, followed 32 children who were diagnosed with coeliac disease when they were between the ages of 2 and 4, during a mass screening effort in 1998. A total of 26 children (81 percent) were treated with a gluten-free diet, either immediately after screening or at some later point.

In the journal Pediatrics, the researchers report that at 10 years after diagnosis, "The health status improved in 66 percent of the treated children: in 41 percent by early treatment and in 25 percent by prevention of gluten-dependent symptoms that they developed after diagnosis."

The researchers also point out that, at diagnosis, the children with symptoms had low health-related quality of life compared to a reference population of Dutch children. By 10 years, the health-related quality of life of the children with coeliac disease who adhered to the gluten-free diet was no different to that of the reference population.

What the study found
Of the 6 children who continued to eat gluten, the investigators report, "treatment after screening would not have improved their health status, because they had no symptoms at screening and have remained symptom-free while consuming gluten."

The investigators conclude that "in a research setting," continuing to eat gluten "seems to be an option" for symptom-free children with coeliac disease. They stop short of recommending it routinely, however.

"Although our study has a relatively long follow-up, 10 years is still a short period of time to assess possible long-term complications in untreated coeliac disease," they admit, "and long-term follow-up studies are needed to provide sound advice." - (Reuters Health)

SOURCE: Pediatrics, April 2009.

Read more:
Coeliac disease

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 619 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 7430 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 924 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.