Coeliac disease more common than first thought

A study of more than 2500 Victorians found more than half of them were genetically susceptible to coeliac disease. 
The researchers combined traditional antibody testing of the immune response to gluten with an assessment of specific genetic risk markers.

The authors said the testing strategy showed the disease potentially affected at least one in 60 women and one in 80 men, compared to previous estimates of no more than one in 100. 

Dr Jason Tye-Din, of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute said the new approach of combining the genetic test with a panel of antibody tests would increase the accuracy of testing, decrease overall medical costs by reducing invasive diagnostic tests, and avoid medically unnecessary use of a gluten free diet.

“Currently, bowel biopsies are recommended for anybody with positive antibody tests,” he said.

“In this study the inclusion of a simple genetic test helped identify a

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