It’s just like being a little kid with a super sore throat and your mom taking you to the doctor to get a test for strep throat. The doctor swabs your throat with two sticks to find out what nasty bacteria is camping out. In just moments you’ve got a diagnosis of strep throat and can start antibiotics to miraculously make the pain go away. You go home with a prescription, get in bed and eat mom’s homemade chicken rice soup until you feel better in a couple of days. How cool would it be if getting diagnosed with celiac disease was this easy?
The wonderful news is that we’re getting closer to having a test that will diagnose celiac disease with just a simple prick of a finger and a 10-minute wait. The CeliacSure Test Kit measures (anti-tTG) IGA antibodies from a fingertip blood sample. It works by taking a small drop of blood, mixing it with a buffer and applying the mixture onto a test cartridge. Within moments two red lines appear if the test is positive, while only one line appears if the result is negative. And, you can take the test at home without ever getting out of your pajamas!
“The test kit is a point-of-care, at-home test that’s very similar to reading results of a pregnancy test,” said Dr. Daniel Leffler of the Celiac Disease Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Leffler, a gastroenterologist by training with a background in nutrition, has long-standing interest in celiac disease. Several years ago he teamed up with Dr. Ciaran Kelly and Dietitian Melinda Dennis to found the Celiac Disease Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where they focus not only on providing top notch patient care, but also on high level disease research. The latest project: studying the efficacy of the CeliacSure test for celiac disease diagnosis.
Dr. Leffler said his team got involved with the finger prick test study because they feel it’s important to take down barriers to patients getting diagnosed with celiac disease. “We do a lot with educating other medical providers about offering in-clinic testing, but I think it’s really important to put a tool in the hands of the people.”
“We’ve teamed up with the [marketers] of the test kit at GlutenPro/Biocard CeliacSure Test to see how effective this test is in the USA. We’re providing 2 kits per family to use on first-degree relatives of people with celiac disease. To qualify, participants in the study must not be on a gluten-free diet. We send them the test kit to take as well as a survey about their ability to use and understand the test. The goal is that this small study comes out favorable so we can move on to large scale studies that will compare the finger prick test to the gold standard laboratory serology testing.”
Dr. Leffler says he’s really excited about the potential of this point-of-care test because it will “allow us to reach a population that might not otherwise come in to get tested, mainly first degree relatives of patients already diagnosed with celiac disease.”
It’s important to note that right now the CeliacSure test is only for research purposes, not actual diagnosis. It is available in Canada and other countries, but it’s still under evaluation here in the United States. And, while the strep throat analogy is a great way to think about how this test will work, it’s extremely important to understand that if you get a positive result with the CeliacSure test, do not start a gluten-free diet until you have followed up with a doctor to confirm the diagnosis.
As with all medical studies there’s some fine print you need to know about. Participants in the study must meet all of the following criteria:
- Over the age of 18
- A first or second degree relative with celiac disease
- Not previously diagnosed with celiac disease
- Not on a gluten-free diet or low-gluten diet within the past 3 months
- Able and willing to self administer the test, complete a short survey form and return both in the provided envelope
- Willingness to have follow up medical evaluation in the event of a positive test
- A resident of the United States
Listen to a full interview with Dr. Leffler about the CeliacSure study on the Hold the Gluten Podcast with Vanessa Maltin Weisbrod and Maureen Stanley now! And, if you would like to participate in the study, please contact Dr. Toufic Kabbani at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 617-667-0528.
What’s better then getting a stamp on your passport AND an amazing gluten-free meal? Head on over to Italy and that’s exactly what you’re going to get!
Check out this great article from the travel section of the Huffington Post. For those of us that love to travel, Italy is a beautiful and welcoming country. And, it’s amazing news that in the land of pasta that a gluten-free traveler can relax and have a great time without worrying about “what will I be able to eat for lunch?”
Read more about traveling gluten-free in Italy at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
Check out this great event coming up in Ottawa about the connection between celiac disease and dental defects. It’s an extremely important topic that everyone should know more about.
The Canadian Celiac Association Ottawa Chapter is hosting a General Meeting featuring an interesting presentation from local dental hygienist Elaine Russell. At the event, Ms. Russell will discuss the recognition of celiac symptoms in patients, the dental effects of celiac disease, and making sure a dental environment is safe.
The event will be held on September 28 at 7:30 PM and is open to the general public.
Location: Riverside Churches of Ottawa, 3191 Riverside Drive (just south of Walkley). For more information, please contact: email@example.com
Tomorrow is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day. Thanks to an act last year by the U.S. Senate, September 13th is now designed as Celiac Disease Awareness Day and honors the birthday of Dr. Samual Gee, the first researchers to discover the link between the autoimmune condition and a gluten-free diet.
His famous words were “If the patient can be cured at all, it must be by means of diet.”
So what are you doing this year to celebrate the 13th? Consider sharing your story and educating others about celiac disease. Who knows, just by talking about the condition, you could inspire others to speak with their doctors and get tested.
Also, dont forget about the CELIACSURE Celiac Test! It’s as accurate as those tests performed in a hospital laboratory, safe, affordable and simple to use…the best part is that you can use the test in the comfort of your own home and get results in only 10 minutes.
Learn more about the test at www.glutenpro.com.
A new large scale study published in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology finds that people with celiac disease are up to 72% more likely to develop the skin disorder psoriasis.
Psoriasis is an itchy, unpleasant skin disease that occurs in about 2% of the population.
Unfortunately, a gluten-free diet was not shown to relieve symptoms of psoriasis as gluten is not the direct cause of the disease.
Read more: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21198518
This fascinating article from U.S. News Health puts the spotlight on the genetic underpinnings of multiple sclerosis and how of the 50 gene variants related to the disease, celiac and other digestive disorders accrue for almost a third of gene variations.
The study included nearly 10,000 MS patients from 15 countries and more than 17,000 healthy controls. Knowing which genes play a role in MS may help pave the way to new treatments, including the possibility that the commonalities between MS and other autoimmune diseases could mean that certain treatments already in use (such as the gluten-free diet!) might work on more than one of the diseases.
Another major athlete is going gluten-free!
Green Bay Packers running back, and NFL superstar James Sparks dedicated the most recent off-season to learning how to follow a gluten-free diet after advice from a nutritionist. The professional suggested that an inability to process gluten was the reason he was healing so slow from injuries on the field.
Starks says of going gluten-free, “I’ve been feasting off of carbs thinking it was good, but my body didn’t react to it the right way..that played a big part in the healing process.”
A new study published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics finds that microscopic colitis is up to 50 times more prevalent in people with celiac disease than in the general population.
The team of Canadian researchers found that middle aged women with celiac disease are especially at risk for the condition and recommend that this population with celiac disease and persistent diarrhea undergo lower endoscopy with biopsies to check for microscopic colitis.
More great celiac disease information from NBC in Flrida! Check out this great article and some additions to this week’s video on what to be watchful for if you are trying to follow a strict gluten-free diet.
NBC News featured this special on gluten-free eats that warns of label reading nightmares and where gluten could be hiding in pre-packaged foods (i.e. fillers, stabilizers and binders often contain gluten).
Read more and watch here: http://www.nbc-2.com/story/15135852/health-matters-gluten-free-pitfalls
Did you know that people with celiac disease have up to a 4 times higher risk of developing hyperthyroidism?
According to research from Orebro University Hospital in Sweden, people with celiac disease have a higher than normal risk of developing thyroid disease. In fact, the reserachers speculate that the two diseases have similar genetics or share immunological characteristics.
Read more about the study at http://www.empowher.com/thyroid-conditions/content/connection-between-thyroid-disease-and-celiac-disease