I know I just posted an article today but I cannot ignore this new study that has just been reeased.  New research reported in PLoS One looks at the global impact of celiac disease on children.

The research was based on a model  using data scientists had plus estimates of population prevalence, probability of undiagnosed individuals and “likelihood of of mortality among the undiagnosed across all countries from 1970-2010”.

The model in this research makes startling suggestions:

“…in 2010, there were around 2.2 million children under 5 years of age living with coeliac [sic] disease.  Among those children there could be 42,000 deaths related to coeliac annually.”

They also said in 2008, “deaths related to coeliac disease probably accounted for approximately 4% of all childhood [diarrhea-related] deaths”

Wow! Now remember this is on a global scale.  One startling quote I saw in the research was that “we were unable to find any reports of populations free from coeliac disease”.  So much for people saying it is mostly a northern European (and their descendants) problem.  In fact, Africa and Asia currently have the highest death rate of children under 5 with undiagnosed celiac disease — according to this research.

Part of the blame is because Africa and Asia have some of the poorest areas where children often are sick and “water-borne infectious [diarrhea is] common.”  So a celiac diagnosis is often overlooked.

Researchers conclude these celiac, diarrhea-related deaths are not preventable under standard treatment for diarrhea — which researchers say “may even involve using gluten-based food supplements.”  Researchers urge using gluten-free diets (like maize and rice which is readily available in these poorer countries) to treat children with chronic diarrhea and malnutrition.

To read the lengthy, detailed report, please go to PLoS One. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness also has a recap on the research.



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