Celiac Disesase Center provides free screenings, expert physician panel

Celiac Disease Center provides free screenings, expert physician panel

August 19, 2008

To aid people who are at-risk for celiac disease, the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center will offer free screenings and a panel discussion of adult and pediatric specialists about treatment, coping with the disease, and updates on research progress. The event will include exhibits for all ages and the opportunity to ask physician experts about celiac disease.

If left undiagnosed, celiac disease, the world's most common genetic autoimmune disease, can lead to more debilitating conditions such as thyroid disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. Still, many people fail to get tested for this prevalent disorder.


Saturday, October 18
8:30 a.m. to Noon
Blood Screening (pre-registration required) and Exhibits
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Physician Panel Discussion and Q & A (open to the public)


Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, 4th Floor
5758 S. Maryland Ave., Chicago, IL 60637


At-risk patients 2 years of age and older who are on a gluten-containing diet are eligible for the free screening

Celiac disease is associated with more than 300 symptoms, but people can also have the disease while experiencing no symptoms at all. A 2003 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that about one out of every 100 people has the disease. Those odds increase to one out of every 22 people for those who have an immediate relative with celiac disease.

The medical center will screen 500 people, and pre-registration is required. To register or for more information, call the Celiac Disease Center at (773) 702-7593 or visit www.CeliacDisease.net.

"Knowledge is key," says Stefano Guandalini, MD, section chief of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital and medical director of the Celiac Disease Center. "We have the medical know-how to determine genetic pre-disposition to the disease, and we have tools to diagnose the disease early. But millions of people suffer because they and their doctors are unaware of this condition. We are working hard to change that."

Celiac Disease is triggered by gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. The body reacts abnormally to gluten by attacking the small intestine, which causes inflammation. The reaction decreases nutrient absorption and can cause an array of symptoms including fatigue, anemia, joint pain, diarrhea, and constipation.

The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center began screening for celiac disease in 2001 and has diagnosed thousands of patients from across the country. Stepping up research efforts, it continues to search for a cure and therapeutic intervention. Currently, adherence to a strict gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease.