Celiac Disease

Discussing the latest advances in celiac disease

October 15th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Celiac Disease and the Brain

By Margaret Shepard

Could celiac disease be connect to the brain? A recent New York Times article takes on that topic. The article states,

"But as antibodies specific to tissues beyond the gut have come to light, some now suspect that the autoimmune firestorm ignited in the gut may descend on other organs, including the brain. This idea, which remains hypothetical, has gained traction during a time of progress in understanding autoimmune diseases of the central nervous system."

Read the full article here.

For more information about celiac disease, visit mayoclinic.org/celiacdisease.

Tags: brain, celiac disease, neurology, New York Times

October 9th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Gluten and Infants

By Margaret Shepard

Joseph Murray M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and celiac disease expert, reacts to two studies on gluten and infants published October 2, 2014 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

For more information about celiac disease, visit mayoclinic.org/celiacdisease.

Tags: celiac disease, gluten, Joseph Murray

October 3rd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Diagnosing Celiac Disease

By Margaret Shepard

How hard is it to diagnosis celiac disease? Joseph Murray, M. D., comments in a New York Times article about how common celiac disease is diagnosed and what might be the cause in the recent increase of diagnoses.

“Celiac disease is now five times more common than it was 50 years ago, and that’s not just the result of better diagnoses,” said Dr. Murray, who is also editor of “Mayo Clinic Going Gluten Free,” to be published in November. “We looked at old stored blood samples, and that showed a real increase in incidence.”

Read the full New York Times article here.

For more information on celiac disease, visit mayoclinic.org/celiacdisease.

Dr. Murray is a gastroenterologist and celiac disease expert at Mayo Clinic.

September 26th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Celiac Disease and Mayo Clinic Radio

By Margaret Shepard

shutterstock_170140268-1024x614Dr. Joseph Murray joined Mayo Clinic Radio to discuss if celiac disease really is becoming more prevalent. Plus, he discussed other immune reactions people experience when eating foods with gluten and whether the general population should jump on the gluten-free fad.

Listen to the hour-long program here.

September 19th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Gluten-Free Recipe: Polenta with fresh vegetables

By Margaret Shepard

At a loss of what to prepare for dinner tonight? How about polenta with fresh vegetables! This recipe for creamy polenta has added flavor because of the Parmesan cheese. Try any combination of vegetables, including leafy vegetables such as spinach.

1 cup coarsely ground cornmeal (polenta)
4 cups water
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup sliced onions
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup sliced zucchini
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh oregano, basil or rosemary, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly coat a 3-quart ovenproof dish with cooking spray.

Combine the polenta, water and garlic in the prepared dish. Bake uncovered until the polenta pulls away from the sides of the baking dish, about 40 minutes. The polenta should be moist.

While the polenta is cooking, spray a nonstick frying pan with cooking spray. Add the mushrooms and onions. Saute over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

In a pot fitted with a steamer basket, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Add the broccoli and zucchini. Cover and steam until tender-crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.

When the polenta is done, top with the cooked vegetables. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and herbs, to taste. Serve immediately.

Originally posted on mayoclinic.org.

Tags: gluten free recipe, healthy living, recipe

September 12th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Patient Story: The disease that killed my mother was the same disease that was killing me

By Margaret Shepard

Originally posted on Sharing Mayo Clinic.

I am writing my story of celiac disease. I was diagnosed in March 2008, at the age of 73. I also want to tell my mother’s story. She passed away in 1945 at the age of 30; when I was only 9½ years old.

My mother was sick all her life. I remember her not being able to go anywhere because of diarrhea and being so very sick. At the last part of her sickness she was passing a lot of blood, and her legs were swelled so excessively. She had seen many doctors with no help. The last day they gave her penicillin, but it was too late. Back then, they would only give penicillin to the solider boys. They said she had a new disease!!!!

As we were growing up, my twin brother and I went to live with our grandparents. I was sick off and on my entire life. I married and had a son and daughter.

I suffered with diarrhea, hurting in my stomach, cramps and weight loss. When I gained some weight, I would say (jokingly), “I am going to keep this weight to get sick on.” There was not a clue of what was wrong with me. Tests were done but all they would come up with was irritable bowel syndrome and obstruction of the bile duct.

In the year 2000, I lost 21 pounds in two months. My local physicians couldn’t come up with any answers. I was sent to a specialist in September 2007; all kinds of tests were conducted such as lower and upper endoscopy, C.T. scans, capsule endoscopy and biopsies. Six of these tests were done in 4½ months. I had a lot of polyps the in lower colon removed; one was high grade pre-cancer cells. But, no answers to why I was so sick except an inflammation. They agreed they were missing something! I went back home, made several trips to the emergency room and hospital -- two times my blood pressure was 47/37. There were drastic changes in my eyes, and I went blind in both eyes. My eyes got some better in three weeks, and I could see the Big E. I was losing ground. Two minutes after I would start to eat, I would have diarrhea, and was so sick.

My husband’s health had been failing since 2006, and I was his caregiver. Our daughter and son got two ladies to come in to take care of him. The last trip I made to my local hospital in Missouri on March 14, 2008, my blood pressure was again 47/37. I didn’t think I was going to last very much longer and my doctor AGREED!!!

My symptoms worsened, but no one associated the food with being my problem. My daughter got an appointment for me at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I left my local hospital on March 23, 2008, and my daughter and I left to go to Mayo Clinic immediately! It took us at least eight hours to get to the Mayo Clinic so my local doctor had suggested I drink Gatorade all the way there. We met with Dr. Glen Alexander at Mayo for the first time at the end of March 2008. After several tests were conducted, Dr. Alexander thought it was likely confirmed that I had collagenous sprue, a disease in which the immune system strikes the body (gluten intolerance). The small intestine is lined with hair-like projections, (called villi). The doctor at Mayo who was treating me said the villi were depleted completely. Then, Dr. Alexander told us that celiac disease was an auto-immune digestive disorder toxic reaction to gluten, which has an increased incidence in family members. When Dr. Alexander said it was more likely to occur in family members, my daughter looked at me, and we both were thinking the same thing -- “Now we know finally what was wrong with my mother when she died.” 63 years ago!!!! Also, the doctor told us what was wrong with my mother and the diseases she had as a child even though he had never met her. We were surprised that he was correct in telling us that she had scarlet fever.

Dr. Alexander gave me medication before I left Mayo Clinic. I have read that celiac disease is not usually treated with drugs, but mine was. When we left the Clinic my feet were swollen. I had worn size 7 women shoes, but we had to get a size 14 wide men’s shoe to come home in.

I was on the medication for one year, and called my doctor at Mayo Clinic every month to report in; he would always call me back and that meant so much to me. In March of 2010, it will be a year after stopping the medicine, (Endocort).

If I eat any gluten-containing substances, I get very sick, but I watch it like a hawk. I have a lot a pain from fibromyalgia and arthritis as well, but no help with that.

I know I won’t get over this celiac disease, but, I am thankful I have come so far from where I was two years ago.

Thanks to God, My Family, Friends, and Mayo Clinic doctors to get me this far!!!!

Sincerely, Betty E. Cornine

P.S. Note!! Please remember the three steps that could save your life:
Step 1 – Blood test;
Step 2 – Endoscopy and tissue biopsy;
Step 3 – Genetic testing


Tags: celiac disease, patient story, Sharing Mayo Clinic

September 5th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Gluten-Free Recipe: Chili

By Margaret Shepard

Get ready for Fall with this gluten-free recipe for chili!


1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 large tomatoes (or 2 cups canned, unsalted tomatoes)
4 cups canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder or to taste
Water, as desired
2 tablespoons cornmeal
Jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped, as desired


In a soup pot, add the ground beef and onion. Over medium heat saute until the meat is browned and the onion is translucent. Drain well.

Add the tomatoes, kidney beans, celery, sugar and chili powder to the ground beef mixture. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Uncover and add water to desired consistency. Stir in cornmeal. Cook for at least 10 minutes more to allow the flavors to blend.

Ladle into warmed bowls and garnish with jalapeno peppers, if desired. Serve immediately.

Originally posted on mayoclinic.org.

Tags: gluten free recipe, healthy living, recipe

August 29th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Gluten-Free Recipe: Citrus Salad

By Margaret Shepard

Cool down and enjoy the start of the holiday weekend with this citrus salad. Looking for a salad to bring to Labor Day picnic? Speed up the assembly process of the salad by using already-segmented oranges and grapefruit.


2 oranges
1 red grapefruit
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sweetener, as desired
4 cups spring greens
2 tablespoons pine nuts


Working with 1 orange at a time, cut a thin slice off the top and bottom, exposing the flesh. Stand the orange upright and, using a sharp knife, thickly cut off the peel, following the contour of the fruit and removing all of the white pith and membrane. Holding the orange over a small bowl, carefully cut along both sides of each section to free it from the membrane. As you work discard any seeds and let the sections and any juice fall into the bowl. Repeat with the other orange and the grapefruit.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the orange juice, olive oil and vinegar. Add sweetener to taste. Pour the mixture over the fruit segments and toss gently to coat evenly.

To serve, divide the spring greens among individual plates. Top each with the fruit and dressing mixture and sprinkle each with 1/2 tablespoon pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Originally posted on mayoclinic.org.

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