Celiac disease medical future hinges on understanding gluten
The future of celiac disease is not easy to predict, but doctors believe new research offers hope. Dr. Alessio Fasano remains optimistic about the possibility of learning more about the disorder and gluten. There are ongoing studies that may increase our understanding while offering new treatment options.
Dr. Alessio Fasano, the director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, believes more research about the gluten-free diet will reveal who should and should not use it. He points out that people with celiac disease are not the only ones who are using the diet, and it has become a fad. He is also optimistic about data from the Celiac Disease Genome Environmental Microbiome and Metabolic Study providing important answers.
The Celiac Disease Genome Environmental Microbiome and Metabolic Study is following 500 babies to determine when, why and how they develop autoimmune disorders. Dr. Fasano states these babies are at risk of developing celiac disease, so following their health patterns and reactions to gluten could expand researchers’ understanding of the condition. The data will take years to collect and analyze, but it offers an important way to discover more information about the disease.
Dr. Alessio Fasano shares that genes also play a role in celiac disease, but not everyone who you would expect to have the disorder actually gets sick. He believes gut bacteria may be part of the equation, so people with well-balanced gut microbiomes are less likely to have problems. Furthermore, the role of stomach acid should not be ignored in maintaining a healthy digestive system, and more research about gluten will help.
Dr. Fasano also addresses why celiac disease and gluten sensitivity cases appear to be increasing in recent years. He believes there are two reasons behind this increase. First, more awareness about the disease is contributing to more people seeking a diagnosis. Second, he thinks there is an epidemic of autoimmune diseases, and celiac disease is one of them.
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