Study Indicates Presence of Celiac Disease in 1st Century AD

July 20, 2010

Study Indicates Presence of Celiac Disease in 1st Century AD

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Artifacts suggest symptoms and diet that point to celiac disease.

A group of researchers in Italy have identified what could be an early case of celiac disease. Remains of a young woman from the first century AD indicate short stature, anemia and decreased bone mass. Artifacts from the tomb suggest the woman lived in a wealthy area with an abundance of wheat, which could have contributed to her condition.

“The wellness of the area is supported by the lack of other bodies found with signs of malnutrition. Clinical presentation and the possible continuous exposure to wheat seem to suggest a case of celiac disease,” the study said.
Prior to this discovery, the earliest case of celiac disease was in 250 BC, based on historical accounts. Researchers hope this case will offer more insight into the phylogenetic tree of celiac disease.

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