Celiac Research Update February 2018

by Mark Johnson, CCA National

Would you eat bread with wheat flour, if it was safe? Scientists in the UK are experimenting with genetically modified wheat that does not include the gluten that would trigger a reaction in a celiac. It’s still very early in the game, and much gene work remains to be done, but wouldn’t that be exciting? Some trials with the new wheat are taking place in Mexico and Spain. It’ll be interesting to see the results? For more information about the GM wheat, please visit: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2148596-genetically-modified-wheat-used-to-make-coeliac-friendly-bread/

Researchers at the University of Toronto studied the blood work of nearly 3,000 people and found that celiac cases were undiagnosed approximately 90% of the time. Ahmed El-Sohemy, a professor of nutritional science at the University of Toronto, wanted to see whether celiac disease results in subpar nutrition because of poorer absorption of vitamins and minerals. To find out, he needed data on the frequency of undiagnosed celiac disease. The findings reinforced that celiac disease occurs in around 1% of the population, but the vast majority who have it do not know they have it. To read more, please visit: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/celiac-disease-1.4343691

A lot of celiacs feel that cannot tolerate oats. But the science shows only about 4% of us actually have problems with oats. You may feel “glutened” after eating oats but remember that oats are very high in fibre and can cause gastrointestinal issues if you have too much too quickly. Ease back into oats slowly, to allow your system to adapt. And of course stick to safe, clean, uncontaminated oats like those from Only Oats and Cream Hill Estates. Oats are a healthy and delicious option for us – enjoy!

Researchers at the University of Surrey in the UK are looking to gain an understanding of how people who have one sibling with an autoimmune disease feel about and manage their own health. This is an area of psychology which has not been studied very much before. If you know someone who would like to participate, please direct them to https://surreyfahs.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8dI0Vbrvoo1iENn.

According to a study conducted by the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, infection with reovirus, a common but harmless virus, may trigger the immune system response to gluten that leads to celiac disease. The study was published in the journal Science and it suggests that certain viruses play a role in the development of autoimmune disorders such as celiac disease and type 1 diabetes. This raises a possibility that a vaccine could be developed in future to treat celiac disease! For more information, please visit: https://www.ndtv.com/food/scientists-discover-another-reason-for-celiac-disease-besides-genetics-1787157

Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital are currently recruiting 500 infants (250 in the US and 250 elsewhere) to participate in their new study that plans to look at the various factors that affect celiac disease’s development. A skilled group of doctors and scientists will conduct a study called Celiac Disease Genomic Environmental Microbiome and Metabolic (CDGEMM), in order to understand and identify the various factors that are associated with the development of celiac disease. The study is led by Dr. Alessio Fasano and they’ll be hoping to find a pattern, which would lead the team to create a treatment and predict the disease’s development. For more information, please visit http://www.cdgemm.org

Research published recently showed that concludes that oral symptoms can precede gastrointestinal symptoms in celiac disease, and be useful in diagnosis. In addition to celiac, oral problems can show up in the presence of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. These symptoms may be key to identifying celiac earlier on, to reduce the current average delay of 11 years between the onset of symptoms and a firm diagnosis. To read more about this research, please visit https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29167716

About Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson lives in Ottawa and has served on the CCA Board of Directors since 2011. Mark works on the CCA’s awareness, revenue and education initiatives, and as such is involved with such tasks as writing, editing, internal communication, media relations, member support, advertising, and social media. Mark also serves as president of the CCA’s Ottawa Chapter. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Waterloo, and master’s degrees from the University of Ottawa (communication) and Carleton University (political management). Mark was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2005. He is a federal public servant, is married with two dogs, and in his spare time enjoys travelling, learning, reading, and playing

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