International Physician Task Force Identifies Definitions for Celiac Disease and Gluten-Related Disorders

Uniform definitions will improve communication with public and establish consistency in celiac disease research, researchers say.

A team of 16 physicians from seven countries has created a consensus document on the definition of celiac disease and other terms used to describe gluten-related disorders. The “Oslo definitions” also outline which terms are preferred and which are discouraged in communicating about these conditions.

The research and healthcare communities have been hampered by the lack of standard definitions for celiac disease and its descriptors. The varied use of terminology makes it difficult to report findings or share information with the public. In addition, new research on gluten sensitivity has revealed the need for definitions that reflect a spectrum of gluten-related disorders, the researchers noted. The consensus document is their effort to establish more consistent use of terms.

"The purpose of our recommended definitions is to create a foundation for clinical management and research. Clear definitions will allow more efficient and generalisable advances in CD research relating to aetiology, incidence, prevalence, complications and treatment of patients with CD and other gluten-related disorders," the authors noted.

Among the terms the researchers defined were: celiac disease, asymptomatic celiac disease, classical celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, gluten ataxia, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and gluten-related disorders.

Among the terms the researchers discouraged from use were: atypical celiac disease, latent celiac disease, typical celiac disease, gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity.

The researchers also addressed terms used to describe celiac disease blood tests:

"We discourage the use of the term CD serology in that it is preferable to specify the antibody tests used because sensitivity and specificity differ substantially," the group wrote.

To establish the definitions, the researchers conducted a literature review to identify relevant terms, then wrote an initial set of definitions and gathered feedback through web surveys. A revised set of definitions was presented and discussed at last year’s International Coeliac Disease Symposium in Oslo, Norway, followed by phone meetings until a consensus was reached, according to the document.

Read the abstract: The Oslo Definitions for Celiac Disease and Related Terms

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