This is a topic that has been circulating the gluten-free blogosphere lately, so it might be old news to some. The New York Times recently released an article written by Keith O’Brien about Celiac Disease, “Should We All Go Gluten Free?”- a relatively unimportant bit of news for most people, but for the Celiac community, this kind of publicity and awareness is what we strive for.
I’ll let you read the article if you want to get into the details, but I thought I’d mention some bits that I found interesting:
-Dr. Stefano Guandalini of the University of Chicago came to the United States from Italy in the mid 1990’s where he was surprised by the lack of information about celiac disease. He claims that even experts seemed to ignore it, citing a primary medical textbook published in 1999 (fairly recent!) that states a prevalence of 1 in 10,000 in the U.S and says that it is a mostly European condition that is decreasing in relevance. This was the formal medical teaching of celiac disease in years as recent as 1999. Scary.
-Celiac disease was extremely prominent and well noted in European countries well before the United States became aware of it. Dr. Alessio Fasano of the University of Maryland even wrote a paper in 1996 titled “Where Have All the American Celiacs Gone?”. He wrote this, as an Italian native who moved to the United States and was alarmed by the lack of celiacs as compared to in Italy, where he would regularly see celiacs. He claims that the history of celiac disease as a public health problem in the United States didn’t really start until 2003.
-Gastroenterologist, Dr. Joseph A. Murray, found that in comparing blood samples from the 1950’s to the 1990’s, young people today are about five times more likely to have celiac disease for reasons that cannot yet be explained. Celiac disease is not only being diagnosed more now, it has actually become more common and widespread.
Read the rest of the article (it’s really good!) here: New York Times.