Researchers Find Cases of Celiac Disease in Children With Type 1 Diabetes; Most Did Not Have Symptoms

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By: Radha McLean

All children with type 1 diabetes should be screened for celiac disease, say researchers from Wisconsin, who drew their conclusion after finding cases of celiac disease in children with type 1. Most of the children who tested positive for celiac disease did not show any symptoms of this illness.

Dr. A.N. Aktay and colleagues from the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin screened two groups of young people for celiac disease. The first group included 218 children with type 1 diabetes (113 males and 105 females from 4 to 21 years of age), and the second consisted of 117 age- and gender-matched control subjects without diabetes. The children’s parents filled out a questionnaire regarding abdominal pain, diarrhea and growth failure, which are symptoms of celiac disease.

Among the 218 subjects who had diabetes, 17 children, or 7.7 percent, tested positive for the celiac antibody. The majority (70 percent) of those who tested positive demonstrated no symptoms. None of the control subjects tested positive. Results of the study were reported in the October 2001 Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.

Researchers point out that the incidence of celiac disease found in children in Wisconsin is comparable to incidence rates found in European and Canadian studies.

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