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Celiac Disease Provides Clues To Solving Autoimmunity
Date:8/6/2009

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla., Aug. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- According to an article published in Scientific America, a study of potentially fatal food-triggered disease has uncovered a process that may contribute to many autoimmune disorders.

The epidemiology of celiac disease that once was thought to be in the rage of 1 in 10,000 is now known to be in the neighborhood of 1 in 133, although not all individuals with the disease face the same set of symptoms that makes celiac and other food-related conditions so dangerous and widespread.

Dr. Alessio Fasano, Medical Director with the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland Medical Center, has attributed gluten intolerance to classic gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea, bloating, and indigestion and leading to disruptions in nutrient absorption. For example, failure to properly absorb iron may lead to anemia, whereas failure to absorb folate may lead to a variety of neurological conditions. Malabsorption of specific nutrients may lead to such diverse conditions as osteoporosis, joint pain, chronic fatigue, skin lesions (eczema, psoriasis), epilepsy, dementia, schizophrenia, depression, and seizures. In addition to the above conditions, the following diseases or conditions are considered autoimmune in nature: diabetes, obesity, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, acute ischemic heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

As researchers have elucidated the precise mechanisms involved in the cascade leading to what is considered autoimmune disease (where the body actually attacks its own tissues), it is apparent that both proteins from foods as well as several genetic components are involved.

"A growing body of evidence suggests that virtually the same trio of factors underpins most, and perhaps all, autoimmune diseases: an environmental substance that is presented to the body, a genetically based ten
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SOURCE Cell Science Systems
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