After a brief hiatus in July whilst I concentrated on the business of bringing another small human into the world (welcome, Baby D!); I’m back in August with a bumper Coeliac News Roundup of interesting articles and research that have caught my eye during those late night feeds.
Impaired growth may provide early signal for coeliac in children
‘Failure to thrive’ (gain weight) in children has long been a primary symptom of coeliac disease in children, but an observational study in Norway has show that before this manifests, coeliac infants often also have impaired height which is thought to occur before malabsorbtion of nutrients and other symptoms appear. This could potentially lead to new diagnostic guidelines or screening based on childrens’ growth.
From Gastroenterology and Endoscopy News (requires free login)
Blood test may be most effective method of diagnosis after short-term gluten challenge
The need to eat gluten for an extended period to confirm diagnosis with a gut biopsy has long been a concern for people with suspected coeliac. A study has show that with a shorter term ‘gluten challenge’, that blood tests can provide a more accurate indication of coeliac.
From Nature (paid content)
Latest trials on Latiglutenase show it improves coeliac symptoms, but not blood markers or gut damage
The latest study on Latiglutenase (formerly called ALV003) for treatment of coeliac shows that it can reduce symptoms, however it did not show any more impact than placebo on the blood markers for coeliac disease, nor on damage to gut villi (the usual current method to check if coeliac disease is well managed).
The potential therapy works by degrading accidentally ingested gluten. It is not being positioned as an alternative to the gluten free diet, but an additional measure. The company have played up the symptom improvements in their press release, but they will no doubt be disappointed that the treatment didn’t show impact on their primary measures.
The company is also developing a non-invasive test for coeliac disease. – it will be interesting to see if this leads to the current methods of diagnosing and assessing management of coeliac to be reevaluated which could make their new treatment viable.
Gluten Free Diet
Gluten free diets are safe, but more regulation of goods would help
A reassuring review of the safety of a gluten free diet concluded that despite media scaremongering about the safety of the gluten free diet for heart health and concerns over the high fat and sugar content of gluten free products, that these matters are not the exclusive to a gluten free diet and can be problems with any modern diet. In fact, potential ‘side effects’ of the diet are much less than many more expensive prescribed treatments for other gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS.
Additionally the review found that gluten contamination of gluten free products is rare, but it does occur and may be responsible for ongoing symptoms in some coeliac patients. Data was limited on the contamination in naturally gluten free foods. The review called for tighter regulation and consistency in testing of gluten levels.
Is wine gluten free?
One of the many areas where Coeliac UK give a simple answer (“yes”) perhaps for the sake of simplicity. In fact, say Decanter magazine (always my go-to source for medical advice ;)) in some rare instances, gluten can be used in the ‘fining’ process in place of animal products; or (now uncommonly) in flour paste to seal barrels. In either case, the level of gluten in the wine would still be less than the legally defined 20 parts per million to be considered gluten free. Because of the risk to people with intolerances, research into vegan-suitable fining agents is focusing more on pea and potato products so the risk is low, unless you are highly sensitive.
I for one, won’t be giving up my glass of red.