I thought it would be a worthwhile addition to the free from blogosphere to share a semi-regular ‘plain English’ round up of some of the news in the world of Coeliac Disease, Allergy and Free From that has caught my eye. I would love to know your feedback!
Nexvax2 Completes Phase I Clinical Trials
There were encouraging results from Phase 1 trials for ‘Nexvax2’ the potential vaccine being developed for coeliac disease; which interferes with the coeliac immune reaction. Phase 1 trials are designed to test the safety of the vaccine and understand the best dose to give. The next phase will look at how effective the treatment is and whether there are any side effects.
The dose ranges in used in the trials vary enormously, but it looks unlikely that this will be a simple, one-off, jab in the arm then you’re good to eat gluten – it will be interesting to see if this develops into a practical and affordable alternative to the life-long gluten free diet.
Also, the read out from the study finds that this vaccine is shown not to work on approximately one third of people with coeliac disease based on the type of immune reaction they have, which means if the vaccine becomes available it will likely need a diagnostic test to find out which people would respond to the treatment before prescribing it.
The Gluten Free Diet is Bad for your Heart… or is it?
You can’t have missed the latest headlines in the press’ obsession with the gluten free diet: reporting on a study published in the BMJ on the association of long term intake of gluten with the development of coronary heart disease. Given the government’s evidence-based dietary advice on consuming whole grains for their heart-health benefits, unsurprisingly it concluded that consuming gluten was not associated with heart disease risk. The press, of course, went a small step further in their headlines to conclude that thus a gluten free diet must be bad for your heart.
You, of course, know that not all gluten free diets are created equal. If you follow advice from your dietitian to include plenty and a variety of gluten free whole grains like quinoa, buckwheat and brown rice you shouldn’t be missing out.
Man Given Single Banana on Long-Haul Flight
The coverage of a passenger who was given a single banana as his gluten free meal option on a long-haul flight may have given you a giggle, or an eye-roll of familiarity if you are a regular traveller; but it certainly shed light on the often very poor way in which passengers with special dietary requirements are served when travelling.
Airlines rarely cater for those with more than one dietary need, some airlines refuse to implement a nut policy, and tales even came to light of passengers receiving no meal at all. Despite gluten free catering improving exponentially in recent years, the travel sector seems to be lagging behind.
Coeliac UK Awareness Week: Glutenfreevolution
And finally, May is of course the month of the annual Coeliac UK Awareness week. This year the campaign centred on improving options for eating out gluten free, with the campaign tagline: ‘Glutenfreevolution’.
Coeliac UK has recently undergone a rebrand and this was the first full outing of its new positioning around the gluten free lifestyle as opposed to coeliac disease itself – which has generated mixed opinions from coeliacs and registered dietitians.
Despite this, they produced some great resources including short videos to explain the challenges of catering and eating out without gluten – useful at any time of the year if you want to educate someone on how to cater for you!