A 21-year cohort study in Finland
evaluated 2,427 participants, ages 24 to 39, for any possible complications of
untreated celiac disease. Participants received a medical exam and
each was asked an extensive list of questions. Serology testing for
Anti-tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies (IgA-tTG) and IgA Endomysial Antibodies
(IgA-EMA) detected silent celiac disease in 21 of the participants. These
serology tests are usually only positive when a person has classic celiac
lesions: a combination of villous atrophy, crypt hyperplasia, and chronic
inflammation of the intraepithelial lymphocytes and duodenum. In other
words, their guts have been significantly damaged. A person with silent
celiac disease often has no obvious symptoms. They are usually diagnosed
through serum screening programs.
The participants were very similar to the other
subjects in the study. An unusual and previously unreported finding in
this study linked silent celiac disease to a risk for underachievement.
The participants with silent celiac disease were found to be less successful in
their educational and working lives compared to the control group. Fewer
completed college or university or worked in professional or managerial
positions. As a whole, they were less likely to be successful with an
occupation or when compared at a socioeconomic level. While evaluating
the children and teenagers, the researchers discovered that they were more
likely to have disruptive behavioral problems or suffer from depression.
The authors of the study believe that these findings added a new concern in the
debate of population screening for celiac disease.
Celiac disease is now believed to be the most
common and neglected life-long, genetic disorder in both Europe and the United
States. The majority of cases are atypical and undiagnosed. It is
estimated that 40% to 50% of the general population has at least one of the genes that
predisposes them to developing celiac disease.
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Wishing you a happy, healthy day!
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