This week New Jersey newspapers ran two articles having to do with services available in The Garden State.
Lorraine Ash's "Celiacs are what they eat" at DailyRecord.com (May 11, 2008) takes a look at the Morristown Celiac Disease Support Meetup Group (MCDSMG), which is run by registered dietitians Lynn Cicero of Morristown and Natalie Mazurets of Madison. The article briefly profiles the dietitians, visits a recent meetup at Whole Foods with Gluten-Free Baking Classics author Annalise Roberts of Mahwah, and describes how the meetup group helps to educate attendees, noting that "Meetup members learn about the 200 symptoms that can signal Celiac disease -- from depression to chronic fatigue, belching to diarrhea, headaches to infertility -- and how the wide span can lead to misdiagnoses such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, depression, multiple sclerosis and more."
But before going gluten-free, a person should get tested first! That's one of the messages in Meg Nugent's article "Before going gluten-free, make sure you need to" in The Star-Ledger (May 13, 2008).
Sample excerpts from the article, which revolves around the opening of the Kogan Celiac Center (KCC) in Livingston, New Jersey:
Shortly after the Kogan Celiac Center opened its doors last month, the facility's clinical coordinator created a slogan that speaks to this warning:
"Stop: Before you cut back, test for celiac!"
Celiac disease affects more than 3 million people in the United States but it remains a vastly under-diagnosed condition -- about 97 percent of Americans with celiac disease don't know they have it, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation.
[Kogan coordinator and dietitian] Margaret Masiello explained that an undiagnosed celiac who tries a gluten-free diet will only mask the existence of definite markers for the disease, including the "characteristic inflammatory process" of the small intestine and higher than normal levels of certain antibodies that are found in people with celiac disease. If those markers are concealed, then any testing that is done will have inaccurate results.
"The gold standard for testing for celiac disease is the combination of blood work that shows the antibodies and a positive biopsy that shows damage to the small intestine," said Masiello.
Let's say you suspect you have celiac disease and want to get tested but you've been eating gluten-free for a while.
"They'll have to eat gluten for four weeks (before testing can be done). That's the time believed to be needed to start those antibodies up again," Masiello said.