The disease, an intolerance to gluten which makes digestion difficult, is found in 1% of the general population. The team told the Archives of Internal Medicine the study provided evidence of the benefits of a screening programme.
The disease, an intolerance to gluten which makes digestion difficult, is found in 1% of the general population. The team told the Archives of Internal Medicine the study provided evidence of the benefits of a screening programme.Although coeliac disease patients commonly have a low bone mineral density, the benefit of screening everyone with osteoporosis has been unclear to date, the Archives of Internal Medicine reported. The team tested 266 patients with osteoporosis and 574 without, putting those with positive coeliac tests on gluten-free diets. Lead researcher William Stenson said the coeliac risk rate was “high enough to justify a recommendation that all individuals with osteoporosis undergo screening.” He said osteoporosis patients should first be tested using a simple blood test, known as serologic screening which tests for antibodies associated with the disease. Diagnosis If that test proved positive, he suggested patients should undergo a more accurate intestinal biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. And he added the patients could then be put on a gluten-free diet, which could then benefit the osteoporosis. “Treatment with a gluten-free diet for a year resulted in improved bone density in individuals with coeliac disease and osteoporosis.” Dr Martin Sarner, honorary secretary of Core, formerly the Digestive Disorders Foundation, said he would welcome a screening programme in the UK. “It would be a positive move, the blood test is relatively simple and could be carried out by GPs. It would not be hugely expensive so could prove cost effective. “The problem is not that many doctors know about the test, I fear this is the reason it has not been introduced yet.” (Source: BBC Health, March 2005)