Celiac Disease

Root Cause: Genetic predisposition

Affected cell types/tissues/organs/systems: Intestinal tissues, multi systemic disease affecting many organs tissues and systems. For example, can cause lesions on epidermis, neurological disorders and growth issues (Niewinski 2008).

Historical Background and Famous Sufferers: First described by Dr. Samuel Gee in 1887. He described the symptoms as diarrhea, lethargy and failure to thrive, though the disease was not age specific. He suspected food regulation to be a main part of treatment. In 1953 Willem Karel Dicke determined the foods causing the disease to be wheat, rye and barley and stated that elimination of these foods could help. The damage to the intestines were later discoved by Paulley in 1954 and Marsh later (Niewinski 2008). Famous sufferers of celiac disease include Elizabeth Hasselback (co-host of The View), Susie Essman (Comedian), Sarah Vowell (Historian and Author), Keith Olbermann (newscaster), Jennifer Esposito (actress), Drew Brees (Quarterback for the New Orleans Saints), Chelsea Clinton, and Emmy Rossum (actress) (Huffington Post 2012).

Common Symptoms: Main symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal distension, and failure to thrive. Other common symptoms: constipation, weight loss, weakness, short stature, and vomiting. Less common symptoms include anemia, reduced bone density, infertility, and neurological disorders, among others (Niewinski 2008).

Treatment: The only current treatment is to follow a strict gluten free diet.

Current Research: Current research includes finding additional treatments that would allow Celiac patients to consume gluten in small quantities or even over a short period of time (Niewinski 2008).


Niewinski, MM (2008). Advances in Celiac Disease and Gluten-Free Diet. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108, 661-672.
Famous and gluten-free? 16 celebrities with food allergies or intolerances. Huffington Post (2012). Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ 2012/01/23/gluten-free-celebrities_n_1217317.html#slide=more205440