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Old 26 February 2013, 02:54 AM
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Icon05 Who Has the Guts for Gluten?

We know that the proteins called gluten, found in wheat and other grains, provoke celiac disease. And we know how to treat the illness: a gluten-free diet. But the rapidly increasing prevalence of celiac disease, which has quadrupled in the United States in just 50 years, is still mystifying.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/op...c-disease.html
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Old 26 February 2013, 03:08 AM
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Originally Posted by snopes View Post
We know that the proteins called gluten, found in wheat and other grains, provoke celiac disease. And we know how to treat the illness: a gluten-free diet. But the rapidly increasing prevalence of celiac disease, which has quadrupled in the United States in just 50 years, is still mystifying.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/op...c-disease.html
That statement is misleading. I don't think gluten "provokes" celiac disease, rather that it is the inability to absorb it.
Wikipedia states that it is ...
Quote:
an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy onward.
(My emphasis)

As for the increase, it seems more to be due to increased screening, rather than an actual increase in the incidents of the disease.

I have a feeling gluten will be the next MSG. The number of people who claim to be affected will far outnumber the true percentage of the population who are truly affected.
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Old 26 February 2013, 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
That statement is misleading. I don't think gluten "provokes" celiac disease, rather that it is the inability to absorb it.
Nope, it's the gluten antigen (gliaden) promoting an inflammatory immune response that does the damage (including a non-specific defect in absorption in the gut).

Quote:
As for the increase, it seems more to be due to increased screening, rather than an actual increase in the incidents of the disease.
There is an increased diagnosis rate for sure, but the article says that they screened old serum for the antibodies that are a very strong marker for the disease, and found a true increase in disease prevalence as well.

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I have a feeling gluten will be the next MSG. The number of people who claim to be affected will far outnumber the true percentage of the population who are truly affected.
A gluten-free diet is trendy for a variety of reasons and there are many who follow it (to some degree) who have no medical need to do so. But celiac disease is a whole nother kettle of fish.
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Old 26 February 2013, 03:20 AM
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Somewhat tangentially, this part jumped out at me:
Quote:
Not surprisingly, they also suffered from more fecal-oral infections. For example, three of four Russian Karelian children harbored Helicobacter pylori, a corkscrew-shaped bacterium, while just one in 20 Finnish children did. The bacterium can cause ulcers and stomach cancer, but mounting evidence suggests that it may also protect against asthma.
I've heard of the theory that high rates of allergies and asthma are the result of living "too cleanly," but I've never heard any specific examples of how living "dirty" offers protection. Interesting.

As far as the implications for breast-feeding go, does anyone else get a little nervous when a new study shows yet another benefit of breast milk? It's not that I don't want that information to be made public, it's just that large segments of the public take it as yet another opportunity to judge the choices women make about motherhood, instead of pushing for reforms that would make it easier to make better choices.
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Old 26 February 2013, 03:43 AM
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Especially given how judgmental groups tend to get on breastfeeding.
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Old 26 February 2013, 03:46 AM
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Since a lot of the digestion in our guts is thanks to the many microbes in there, maybe there's been a reduction in the ones that are good at breaking down gluten. It might be due to antibiotics, for example. That's just my own pet theory with no knowledge at all to back it up. (I see the article does get into some similar lines of study... still reading.)
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Old 26 February 2013, 02:23 PM
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My wife cannot eat gluten (doctor diagnosed and all that that implies..) and while she does get a little eye-rolly about the various hippies/hipsters who won't eat gluten for whatever crazy reason they profess (not so much anybody in particular, since obviously there is no way to know, but more as a whole, because either a lot of people here don't eat gluten for trends or there is some major medical issue in Portland, OR).

That said they serve an important purpose, gluten-free stuff is quite common here given how many people don't want to eat it. So yea, trend or no the more people who want to be gluten free the easier it is for people who have a legitimate need to be to find gluten free alternatives.

[We had a guy sitting behind us at a pizza place that has pretty good gluten free pizza without breaking the bank go on and on to his seatmate about how he doesn't eat gluten cause it's so unhealthy and unnatural and any other amount of hipster BS, it was sort of hilarious]
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