Food and Behaviour Research

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Undiagnosed coeliac disease at age seven: population based prospective birth cohort study

Bingley PJ, Williams AJ, Norcross AJ, Unsworth DJ, Lock RJ, Ness AR, Jones RW; Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children Study Team. (2004) BMJ.  328(7435) 322-3. 

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here. Free full text of this paper is available online

Abstract:

No abstract available. The following are excerpts from the full text paper, which is freely available from the BMJ website.

Coeliac disease is uncommon in childhood and diagnosed in fewer than 1 in 2500 children in the United Kingdom. Subclinical disease is, however, common in adults, and can be detected by testing for serum IgA antiendomysial antibodies (IgA-EMA). We aimed to establish the prevalence of undiagnosed coeliac disease in the general population at age seven, and to look for associated clinical features.

At age 7, 1% of children were IgA-EMA positive and likely therefore to have subclinical coeliac disease, though less than 0.1% were reported to be on a gluten-free diet. The prevalence of coeliac disease in these children is therefore comparable to that in UK adults. The benefit of early diagnosis of subclinical coeliac disease remains unproven, but long term follow up of this cohort may help to resolve this. If screening is worth while, it should be started in childhood.