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Archive for April, 2010

Is Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance on the Rise?

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Lately, I have been hearing a great number of stories from people relating to me about someone they know that was just diagnosed with Celiac or Gluten Intolerance.  The stories are not good.  Most stories tell about individuals who have suffered years with the symptoms while going from doctor to doctor before being diagnosed.  Babies and children are ending up in the hospital very ill before diagnosis is finally made.  Why is looking for a diagnosis related to the digestive system out of the physicians’ realm?  Why is Celiac only suspected after a phethora of negative tests come back?  Even then some physicians and gastroenterologists do not look for it.  I realize no one wants this disease, but with the Western Diet compounded with Fast Foods’ fat and sugar, it should be evident that Gluten Intolerance can be the problem.  The amount of wheat that a person eats is immense.  Gluten/Wheat is on the spicy fries we eat; it’s used as a substance that keeps ingredients together.  It’s used as a coating for processed meats; it of course is used to make bread rise.  I found it the other day in mustard.  Is it any wonder, that according to research, Celiac disease has increased fourfold.

Problems with the RAST Test. Part 2: RAST vs ELISA

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Allergy tests are not always perfect.  All allergy tests have the potential to give a “false positive” or in reverse a “false negative”.  The Rast test or frequently used Cap-Rast test is great for immediate response allergies.  Examples of these allergies are: peanuts, corn, fish, egg and milk.  This test measures how much IgE antibodies are present to a specific food or allergen.  The problem with this test is it’s inability to accurately test delayed hypersensitive reactions such as gluten/wheat.  For a better result on the gluten testing, the individual needs to eat a diet heavy with high-gluten foods( ie., pizza, pasta) for two weeks prior to the test.  That way enough IgE antibodies will be present for the test.

The ELISA test is preferable to delayed allergies such as gluten.  The test measures late-phase lymphocytes responses to environmental and dietary antigens.  However, because the most popular version of this test uses a non-interacting protein such as bovine(cow) albumin or casein, some individuals have reacted to the protein.  This happens rarely, but it can give a “false positive” for individuals with milk allergies.  So what is a parent to do?  Be very informed of what type of allergy test you or your child will be taking.  Inform the physician if you suspect both milk and gluten allergies so the correct allergy test will be applied.  Make sure you prepare for the test so a correct conclusion of the test will result.  If the test is borderline, then an elimination diet is often used.  A trial elimination diet for 2 to 4 weeks is often suggested followed by a gradual reintroduction of the offending food.  If the symptoms return after ingesting the suspected food then the individual is truly allergic/intolerant to the food.