National Conference Kelowna – A GRAND Experience

by Cheryl Richmond, Calgary Chapter

dolphins sculptureCould it get any better than to be in postcard beautiful Kelowna, at the end of May, when the sun shines and the water sparkles? Trust me, it can.

When you are staying at the charming Delta Grand Resort, being treated to a great line up of interesting and informative speakers, offered the chance to shop at vendor booths for gluten free products from across Canada, and served delicious gluten free food for an entire weekend… it’s the BEST!

Congratulations to Irene Thompson, David Fowler and all the dedicated volunteers who made our conference experience so memorable.

Thanks to the great presenters: who held our attention with new and fascinating topics regarding celiac disease. For those of you who could not attend, I will do my best to share highlights:

Keynote speaker Dr. Sheila Crowe’s presentation focused on how celiac disease has changed over the years. There are so many more people being diagnosed today, and so many different ways that the disease presents/ We are seeing advancements in detection, dietary treatment and research resulting in new therapies. It was good to hear that lymphoma resulting from CD is very rare in treated persons, and that in future we could have access to assistance drugs currently being tested. Dr. Crowe is the co author of the book, “Celiac Disease for Dummies”. Her conference notes can be accessed on the Kelowna Chapter website.

Dr. Ian Blurrier spoke about celiac disease and its relationship to other autoimmune diseases. It is evident that a number of people diagnosed with celiac disease, also present with other autoirnmune diseases such as diabetes and thyroid disease. He offered information to increase the awareness of symptoms and explained how these diseases are affected by undiagnosed celiac disease. Persons with celiac disease should be aware of the possibility that they could also develop another autoimmune condition.

Dr. Hardy Limeback is the head of preventative dentistry at the University of Toronto. He spoke about alternate detection of celiac disease: which can show up as white spots or lines on teeth. Although other conditions like dental fluorosis may look similar, dentists are now learning that they should consider the possibility of a patient having celiac disease. Pictures show this much better than I could explain: so I suggest seeing Dr. Limeback’s notes linked to the Kelowna Chapter website.

Dr. Moshin Rashid gave us a fascinating overview of celiac disease in other parts of the world. I was shocked and saddened to see the statistics on the screen. Did you know that in 2010 there were over 2.2 million children under the age of 5 with celiac disease; and of those – it is estimated that there were 42,000 celiac related deaths? Dr. Rashid’s presentation is also available on the Kelowna Chapter website.

For the first time we heard from a Naturopathic Physician. Dr. Brent Barlow talked about celiac disease with the entire body in mind. There are many following the gluten free diet and still feeling unwell. Could there be other issues independent of, or linked to the condition? Choosing certified naturopathy could help to indentify and treat these issues. This presentation is also available on the Kelowna website.

Interesting presentations were also made by Dr. Diana Mager, whose focus was vitamin D deficiency in Canadians, and Michelle Wiepjes (winner of the JA Campbell Award in 2011) who spoke about her studies dealing with reactions when gluten crosses barriers.

Such diversity in topics, and so many interesting facts; the conference was a well rounded program. Special recognition was given to two wonderful Ladies who have contributed many dedicated years to our Association; Marion Zarkadas and Mavis Malloy. They will certainly be missed by all. Also, farewell and thanks to Executive Director Jim McCarthy.

My recommendation for the future: plan to attend the National Conference 2013 in Mississauga June 7 – 9!

About David E. Fowler

Kelowna Celiac Webmaster

One thought on “National Conference Kelowna – A GRAND Experience

  1. Great conference, congratulations to the Kelowna Chapter for all
    their hard work. Wonderful to see and meet all our old friends.

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