Yesterday, Stanford pediatric gastroenterologist KT Park, MD, took questions about topics related to celiac disease and his latest research on screening for the condition as part of a Twitter chat hosted by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). Those who were unable to participate in the chat can review the conversation on the AGA Storify page.
Park started out the conversation with a number of interesting statistics about celiac disease and the gluten-free movement, including that celiac disease affects about 3 million Americans and that an estimated 1.4 million more are undiagnosed. He also noted that undiagnosed celiac disease is a public health concern because 70 percent of untreated patients have reduced bone mineral density, increasing osteoporosis risk.
As the conversation continued, Park discussed a recently published study (subscription required) he co-authored comparing the methods of screening adolescents who are either symptomatic or at high-risk for celiac disease to universal screening. The goal of the study was to determine if one approach proved better at preventing bone loss and non-traumatic hip and vertebral fractures in celiac patients. Park and colleagues’ findings showed screening only those at risk was more cost effective in preventing bone loss and fractures among patients with undiagnosed or subclinical disease. He also talked about gluten sensitivity and the growing popularity of the gluten-free diet. It’s worth taking a moment to read.
Previously: Join Stanford pediatric gastroenterologist for Twitter chat on celiac disease research, Living the gluten-free life, From frustration to foundation: Embracing a diagnosis of celiac disease and Gluten: The “new diet villain?”