Friday, August 01, 2008

There Ought to Be a Law

A Republican state senator from Long Island thinks that mandatory screening of children for celiac disease sounds like a good idea.

According to The Garden City News, Senator Kemp Hannon recently recognized student John D'Argenzio as a winner in his 2008 "There Ought To Be A Law" contest, which honors student-conceived ideas for New York State legislation.

John's suggestion: "It should be mandatory for children at the age of six to get blood tests. Doctors need to screen for Celiac disease. 1 in 133 people have this disease or some wheat or gluten sensitivity. People in our country are misdiagnosed or never diagnosed."

Congratulations to John! I agree that mandatory screening seems like a good idea, but I believe it led to some problems in Italy before being discontinued. If mandatory screening turns out to be out of the question, certainly a state-supported effort to inform the public and increase voluntary screening is something that Senator Hannon and his colleagues should seriously consider. The savings associated with early diagnoses of celiac disease should also be of great interest during the current budgetary crisis.


Gaile said...

I wasn't aware it got discontinued in Italy? Could you tell us more about that? I think mandatory testing is an excellent idea for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it would force doctors to wake up and pay attention.

David Marc Fischer said...

Hi, Gaile. At the International Symposium held in NYC in 2006, I heard an Italian doctor talk about how public resistance to mandatory screening brought it to an end. I'll see if I can get more on this at some point.