Diagnosing non-coeliac wheat sensitivity

Exploring a new clinical entity of NCWS

Non-coeliac wheat sensitivity (WS) is considered to be a new medical condition – and a new study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology aims to find specific markers for the condition: the clinical, serologic and histological markers may go some way to confirming the existence of WS as a real condition, which is currently debated.

The researchers compared the clinical charts of 276 patients who were diagnosed with WS using a double-blind placebo-controlled challenge between 2001-2011. The controls were 150 coeliac disease (CD) patients and fifty patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Two groups with distinct clinical characteristics were found – those with WS alone and those with WS associated with multiple food sensitivity. As a whole group, those with WS showed a higher prevalence of anaemia, weight-loss, self-reported wheat intolerance, coexistent atopy and food intolerance in infancy than did the IBS controls. The main histologic characteristic of WS patients was eosinophil infiltration of the duodenal and colon mucosa. WS patients had symptoms similar to coeliac disease, and those with multiple food sensitivity had WS symptoms similar to those found in allergic patients.

The researches concluded that non-coeliac wheat sensitivity exists as a clinical condition with two groups of patients: those with symptoms similar to CD and those with symptoms similar to food allergy.

Source: The American Journal of Gastroenterology

July 2012.


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