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Scientists Find 'Modestly Increased' Risk Of Death From Gluten-Induced Disease

September 16, 2009: 11:53 AM EST
A new study in Sweden has found that celiac disease, an intestine-damaging ailment that restricts intake of nutrients, is associated with a higher risk of mortality, perhaps because of that nutrient restriction. The authors found that those with small intestine inflammation who had not been diagnosed with celiac disease likely had a worse prognosis because following a gluten-free diet often normalizes the condition. Compared to a control group the study found that patients with inflammation had a 72 percent increased risk of death; patients with celiac disease had a 39 percent increased risk. Celiac disease is induced by exposure to the wheat protein gluten. Because the disease often occurs with other disorders that assault the immune system, such as diabetes and arthritis, it can go undiagnosed and untreated, according to the study reported by Agence France-Presse. "The study … reinforces the importance of celiac disease as a diagnosis that should be sought by physicians,” says an American expert.
Jonas Ludvigsson, Scott Montgomery, Anders Ekbom, Lena Brandt, Fredrik Granath, "Small-Intestinal Histopathology and Mortality Risk in Celiac Disease", The Journal of the American Medical Association, September 16, 2009, © American Medical Association
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