Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The NYTimes Q&A on Gluten and Gluttony

The New York Times has a Q&A on Gluten Free Diets. Celiac Chicks has a post called Gluten-Free Diet Questioned in the New York Times that has gotten a lot of comments. I left this comment...

I have several problems with the New York Times Q&A. First, Celiac Disease is often difficult to diagnose. There are many false negatives. I have personally met and spoken to four people who tested negative on blood tests and then were diagnosed on biopsy. Three of them were people whose symptoms got so bad they insisted on the biopsy and were lucky enough to be seen by a doctor at the Celiac Center who knew that blood tests can be wrong. Perhaps the people who feel better on a gluten free diet are people who have Celiac at the early stages where the tests are negative and they miraculously they get better on a gluten free diet. I see a doctor at the Celiac Center and she has told me that in children the antibodies go positive and negative even on a gluten containing diet.

Of course, no one tells you that it is so difficult to diagnose and blood tests can be wrong! But, I love hearing people's stories and I am involved with the Celiac community so I end up hearing these crazy stories. One child tested negative THREE times and was in the intensive care unit when the test it finally turned positive and the doctors told her she had celiac.

In addition, there are many doctors and researchers investigating gluten being a factor in RA and neurological diseases:

Rodney Ford M.B.,B.S.,M.D.,F.R.A.C.P

Ron Hoggan who wrote Dangerous Grains has some info on Rheumatoid Arthritis.

When Dr. Greene spoke about gluten intolerance, he said "Doctors don't like things they can't test for." But all science begins with anecdote and the anecdotes are adding up...Unfortunately for many, because the "cure" is not a pill or an expensive medical procedure (like a biopsy) it is dismissed by many doctors without an understanding of the complexity of Celiac Disease or the damage caused by gluten intolerance.