Is celiac disease on the rise?

June 1, 2017

Is celiac disease on the rise?


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A review of current evidence

global rise in celiac disease


An overview of celiac disease, including a look at a global increase in its occurrence, was published today by The Scientist magazine.

Titled, The Celiac Surge, the story details researchers’ concern that prevalence of celiac disease seems to be increasing and their search for the reason why.

The article points to a recent study at the Colorado Center for Celiac Disease that found that by age 15, slightly more than 3 percent of Denver children followed for up to 20 years had developed celiac disease, a rate about three times higher than that typically cited for the overall U.S. population.

The article also cites a study by the Mayo Clinic that compared blood samples taken from Air Force members in the 1950s with those taken from residents of a Minnesota county in 1995 as an example of research that detected an increase in celiac disease. That study found a jump in prevalence from .2 percent to 1 percent.

“The cause of this apparent global trend remains a mystery, not least because, while the immunopathology of celiac disease has been studied for decades, just what causes people to develop the ailment in the first place remains unclear,” writes Catherine Offord, the story’s author.

Offord also describes the need for “improved diagnosis and management” and details some of the treatments being researched as additions or alternative to the gluten-free diet. Included are Nexvax2, a vaccine being developed by ImmusanT and latiglutenase, a drug under study by ImmunogenX.

The story also touches on the challenges for celiac disease patients and physicians created by the “increasing popularity of gluten-free diets” and the fact that many people are choosing to go gluten-free without being tested for celiac disease.

You can read the full Celiac Surge story here.

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