I try not to rant when I write. Really. I think it is unbecoming. I also try not to use expletives. Honestly. This leads to what many of you might think of as my ignoring those who don’t know SCIENCE from syphilis (like Michael Specter in “Against the Grain” or Julie Belluz in “20 percent of Americans try to eat gluten-free foods. That’s ridiculous”.) You would be correct. I do generally ignore these blithering idiots.
However, a friend recently sent me an article from the New York Times that took me aback. Another intellectual (or, apparently, pseudo-intellectual) who can’t tell Dr. Fasano from Dr. Seuss has reared his ugly head.
I’m talking about Roger Cohen in his column “This Column Is Gluten-Free.”
Now, I’m not going to get all scientific on his ass, (well, maybe just a little,) but this joker needs to start researching his material before he spouts his garbage. You would think that an award winning journalist would know that. Alas, the days of good journalism seem to have passed. So lets take a closer look at some of the unreasoned opinion that he expressed.
“There has been a huge and mysterious rise in celiac disease…in the last 60 years. Why is unclear.”
That turns out not to be the case (a phrase that I learned is the Socially Acceptable Way of saying you’re so far out in left field that Babe Ruth couldn’t hit the ball to you.)
We just learned about 60 years ago what caused and how to diagnose celiacs disease. Could this be the “why” that this dolt thinks is “unclear”.
Or could the “mystery” lie in the fact that we have come so far that a whopping 25% of doctors even suspect celiacs disease when acute cases come to them. I have recent personal experience with this one, and believe me, its frustrating as hell!
Or perhaps the “mysterious rise” is happening because the common serologic tests have risen recently from 70% false negative to 56% false negative for sub-acute cases in a clinical setting ( i.e. those who can get off the toilet long enough to get to the doctor.)
Maybe its due to the recognition that celiacs disease is a systemic, not strictly intestinal, problem. We also now know that celiacs disease affects teenagers and adults, not just children.
Or could it be that we are importing (and consuming) 3 times as much gluten now as we did 40 years ago.
By the way, THANK YOU UNCLE SAM, Bill Clinton especially, for putting import restrictions on vital wheat gluten so that our wheat gluten industry could do better in the market (allowing one wheat gluten manufacturer to create a whole research division dedicated to creating new products from wheat gluten and getting them to market quickly. See “UNITED STATES INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION” report “WHEAT GLUTEN Investigation No. TA-204-2”). But jee-wiz, what’s an extra 20 million or so deaths in the next generation from untreated celiacs disease compared to our buddies making a few extra bucks?
Think that’s an exaggeration? Check the research and do the numbers.
You wonder why, in your article, Lord Carrington and his friends didn’t have any “special dietary requirements” for the caterer? Have you considered that, quite possibly, all his celiac friends had already died of untreated celiacs disease? Consider: I’m right now looking again at the letter from my doctor that says, simply, “you have celiacs disease.” 80 years ago, during Lord Carrington’s time, that phrase was essentially a death sentence, commutable only by an act of God.
Roger, would you care to guess how much damage can be done to a Celiac from ignorant opinions like yours? I know you’re not interested in reading an actual SCIENTIFIC report, so I’ll give you a synopsis. Remember, the Celiac Community see’s this stuff every day, day in and day out.
A case report came out in the journal NUTRIENTS in July titled “Gluten Psychosis: Confirmation of a New Clinical Entity.” In it, these
torturers clinicians detail the case of a 12 year old girl that, over a 2 month period, began having severe psychosis along with various physical issues. She was mis-diagnosed and sent on her way with anti-psychotics. Over the next several months, as her condition worsened, she was institutionalized, repeatedly hospitalized, mis-diagnosed several more times, and pricked, prodded and poked repeatedly with a whole battery of tests including most of the serologic tests for celiacs disease. All these tests except one, the one that showed an iron deficiency (keep this in mind for later,) were normal. After 17 months and several more bouts of ataxia, paranoid delirium, hospitalizations, institutionalizations, more tests, more mis-diagnosis and newer, more powerful anti-psychotics with “distorted and paranoid thinking and suicidal ideation up to a state of pre-coma” this poor young thing was finally seen by a nutritionist (she had, by that time, lost 20% of her weight and still had gastrointestinal symptoms.) Lets try a Gluten Free diet.
BAMB! Dramatic reduction of problems within a week.
BAMB! Return of problems within 4 hours of consuming gluten.
BAMB! Admitted to the pediatric gastroenterology outpatient clinic (Italy?). Diagnosed with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. Confirmed by double-blind gluten challenge.
Result: Confirmation of a new clinical entity: Gluten Psychosis.
No problem there, as the Gluten Free community has long known that there are serious psychological problems associated with Celiacs eating gluten, but wait a second. Didn’t they say she had NON-CELIAC gluten sensitivity?
How can they say that if they didn’t follow their own diagnostic criteria and CHECK FOR CELIACS DISEASE?
No, I’m not making this up! As of 2007, as published in the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL of MEDICINE by Peter H.R Green, M.D. (Department of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons) and Christophe Cellier, M.D., Ph.D. (Department of Gastroenterology, European Georges Pompidou Hospital,):
“The diagnostic criteria developed by the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition require only clinical improvement with the diet.”
You must, of course, check the HLA DQ gene to see if the person is even capable of being a Celiac. You can’t have Celiacs Disease if you are not a Celiac. Conversely, You cannot have Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity if you ARE a Celiac.(50 % of “gluten sensitivity”, prevalent in 20-30 % of the general population, is actually Celiacs Disease. An improbably low number considering that 40 % of the population are Celiacs. That’s right, do the research and run the numbers. If you’re capable.)
By the way, that iron deficiency that I said to keep in mind earlier? That is enough, according to many in the KNOWLEDGABLE medical community, to receive a diagnoses of Celiacs Disease when you have Celiac genes.
This enough for you, Roger?
Keep Eldridge Cleaver in mind before you spout another ignorant opinion-
‘There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.’