the patient celiac

Celiac Disease and Headaches

10 comments May 30, 2016

I’ve been intending to write about the association between celiac disease and headaches over the last month, but every time I’ve sat down in front of my computer to start to write this post, I’ve given myself a headache :)

Seriously, though, I have had a lot of readers ask about whether or not headaches can be a symptom of celiac disease. Although I’ve always answered “yes,” because headaches are always on the lists of celiac symptoms, I had not dived into any of the research about this subject until now.

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May 2016—My 7th Celiac Awareness Month

10 comments April 27, 2016

I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2010, so this May will be my 7th celiac awareness month.

In May 2010 I was totally overwhelmed with my celiac diagnosis and still trying to get the hang of the gluten free diet, i.e. trying out different types of GF bread, pasta, etc., at the point that I felt I needed to be able to replace every gluten-containing food that I liked to eat with a GF version, and figuring out how to manage a shared GF/non-GF kitchen. I was very scared to eat outside of the home, by the thought of having to be GF while traveling, etc.  My main focus was learning all about which foods and ingredients I needed to avoid and trying to explain my new diagnosis to my family and friends. I had no clue that celiac awareness month even existed that year.

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Spring 2016 Celiac Research Round-Up

4 comments March 22, 2016

I figured that there’s no better way to celebrate the sixth anniversary of my celiac disease diagnosis (March 2010, I have no clue what my actual date of diagnosis was) than by scouting out the medical literature for interesting new articles. I love doing this, but lately it’s been on the back burner.

  1. “Risk of Headache-Related Healthcare Visits in Patients with Celiac Disease: A Population-Based Observational Study.” By Lebwohl, B, Alaedini, A, Green, P, and Ludvigsson, J. Published in the March 12, 2016 issue of Headache.
This was a retrospective study in which almost 30,000 Swedish patients with biopsy-confirmed celiac disease were compared with controls (people without celiac). The research team found that those with celiac disease had 50% more doctors’ visits for headaches than the control population did. Interestingly enough, patients with elevated celiac antibody levels, but normal biopsies (aka "potential" celiacs) also had a significantly higher risk of headaches.


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Celiac Disease: More Common Yet “Atypical” than Previously Thought

8 comments February 24, 2016

I recently wrote this paper for an online pediatric journal and thought it might be of interest to some of you. Please feel free to repost and share (as long as you credit me). Thank you! -Jess

"Celiac disease, an autoimmune enteropathy triggered by the consumption of gluten, can develop in genetically predisposed children (HLA DQ2 and/or DQ8 positive) at any point from 9 months of age through adulthood. Although the incidence of celiac disease in both North America and the bulk of Europe is approximately 1 in 100, patients with a first-degree relative with celiac disease are at a much higher risk of development. For example, up to 25% of children who are homozygous for HLA- DQ2 will develop evidence of celiac autoimmunity by age 6. Additional risk factors for the development of celiac disease include type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease, Trisomy 21, Turner syndrome, William’s syndrome, and selective IgA deficiency. The celiac genes (HLA-DQ2 and DQ8) contribute 40% of the risk of developing celiac. Environmental risk factors for celiac disease include infant feeding patterns, early infections, gut microbiota, receiving multiple doses of antibiotics during early life and the amount and timing of initial gluten exposure.

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CDGEMM Study: An effort to understand why celiac disease develops (& what can be done to prevent it)

7 comments December 23, 2015

The Celiac Disease Genomic, Environmental, Microbiome, and Metabolomic (CDGEMM) Study, recently launched by the Center for Celiac Research at Mass General Hospital for Children, is a long-term, prospective study aimed at understanding the genetic, microbial (gut bacteria), and environmental processes that trigger the onset of celiac disease—the information gathered by this study will help to explain why celiac disease develops with an ultimate goal to be able to prevent the development of celiac disease and other autoimmune conditions.

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Interleukin-15 and Celiac Disease

14 comments November 27, 2015

IL-15 is an important cytokine (immune system protein) involved in celiac disease. In those of us with celiac, ingestion of gluten triggers the release of IL-15 by cells in the lining of our small intestines. IL-15 stimulates the production of intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) which are unique immune cells found in the lining of the small intestine—these are often seen on our intestinal biopsies when we are first diagnosed with celiac disease.

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Chapter 13

4 comments November 10, 2015

I recently downloaded the book Gluten Free: The Healthy Lifestyle Guide to Gluten Free Diets, by Emily Hoskins, onto my tablet. It was only $2.99 on Amazon and my reader who recommended it insisted that I would enjoy it a lot (she did not state why).

As I scrolled through the table of contents I was given the impression that this book is geared toward gluten-free "newbies" as the chapters deal with topics including an overview of celiac disease, an explanation of some commonly used gluten-free flours, tips for dining out when gluten-free, etc. I was happy to see that chapter 12 discussed that celiac disease can effect the brain, as the relationship between celiac disease and nervous system symptoms is under appreciated.

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4 comments October 30, 2015

I love reading and responding to your comments, emails, and Facebook messages. Lately it seems that many of the same questions have popped up again and again. Below are the answers to some questions I've been asked on more than one occasion.

What are some good online resources for information about celiac disease? I use to find abstracts for recently published papers about celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Some of my other favorite sites include the webpage and Facebook pages for the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Celiac Corner, the Celiac Disease Foundation, Gluten Free Watchdog (requires a monthly subscription, but is well worth it), and Amy Burkhart, MD, RD's page. Dr. Burkhart attended the International Celiac Disease Symposium (ICDS) that was held in Prague in this past June, and she has excellent posts summarizing some of the research that was presented at the ICDS in her Sept. and Oct. blog posts. I am also a huge fan of Gluten-Free Living magazine and was honored to be featured in this post from their website last year.

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Celiac Knowledge is Power

16 comments September 16, 2015

When I started this page back in 2012, about two years after my celiac diagnosis, I followed several other celiac webpages/blogs and was an active participant in the online forums. Being able to interact with other people who were medically gluten-free, like me, and reading about their experiences helped me to feel so much less alone. With time, though, I have had to stop participating in celiac forums and leaving comments on others’ pages. Part of this is due to time constraints, but a lot of my lack of participation is due to people complaining and criticizing each other online. If we, as members of the celiac community, dedicated our efforts to educating and supporting each other as opposed to whining and feeling sorry for ourselves, I think we could do an amazing job of spreading celiac knowledge.

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Pregnancy risk factors for the development of celiac disease

3 comments August 16, 2015

I had never heard of Doximity, a social networking website for physicians, until a few months ago when I received an email that one of my old medical school classmates had added me as a “colleague” on the site.  I discovered that, despite having never signed up for the site, that my profile already existed, which included  semi-correct information and a very unflattering photo of me from when I was about 8 months pregnant with my 3rd child (all information that can be easily found on the internet, scarily enough).

I claimed my account, corrected my info, uploaded a new profile photo, and pretty much forgot about the website until last week. When I logged on I searched the physician education/CME page using the words “celiac disease” and there were links to 941 relevant articles. For a research geek like me this was heavenly…and overwhelming!

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