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Doctors Slow To Recognise Gluten Harm

Doctors Slow To Recognise Gluten Harm

Leading New Zealand Paediatrician And Allergist Challenges Medical Stalwarts With Revolutionary Gluten Thinking - To Speak At Auckland Gluten Free Food And Allergy Show 5 – 6 July 2008

There is more to gluten problems than just coeliac disease. Gluten sensitivity is ten times more prevalent than coeliac disease in New Zealand and mostly undiagnosed. This is the message that Christchurch-based paediatrician, allergist and author, Doctor Rodney Ford wants to get across to the public and the ever conservative medical fraternity.

The practice of medicine is restricted to the knowledge, experience, attitudes and politics of the society it functions in. Medicine is an inexact but evolving science, thus current standard medical practices are often disproved. The validity of medical opinion, long held to be the gold standard of diagnosis and treatment, are constantly challenged. This is a healthy dynamic, one that enables the pursuit of excellence and the evolution of better forms of practice, resulting in better outcomes for patients. Why, then asks Dr Ford, is there such resistance to his new Gluten Syndrome hypothesis recently published in a book and supported by years of clinical experience and research.

In the absence of coeliac disease, his latest research shows that the simple gluten test (IgG-gliadin antibody) is a sensitive indicator to detect those people who get sick eating gluten but who have tested negative to Celiac Disease. However, this test is rarely ordered by general practitioners or specialists. He says “This is because of an illogical rejection of gluten sensitivity as a valid diagnosis. Ignoring gluten flies in the face of all of the evidence and is also alienating doctors from their patients.”

Picture this, if you will: a six year old girl, Elizabeth, small for her age, a distended stomach, gas and suffering from gastric reflux. Her teachers reported a lack of attention at school and early learning problems. Elizabeth had been thoroughly investigated by the medical profession: blood tests, bowel biopsies, colonoscopy, endoscopy. Coeliac Disease had been ruled out, various medications had been tried and doctors had started to question her mother’s parenting skills. Elizabeth’s parents had gone beyond frustration and fear for their child, they were at the point of desperation.

This is a common story in Dr Ford’s practice. It is also one of the many success stories he has to share. After seeing Dr Ford, a positive IgG-gliadin antibody test and being put on a gluten free diet, Elizabeth improved within a few days. Within weeks she made a remarkable recovery and was in essence cured. Gluten was no longer a choice for her and accidental intake still causes her a reoccurrence of symptoms. Adhering to a gluten free diet has enabled Elizabeth to grow into the healthy, happy and successful young woman that she is today.

Common stories such as this, along with the increasing research and evidence of gluten based harm, should be enough to spur the medical profession into action in an effort to save the current generation of children from the long term health, social and financial consequences of what is an easily diagnosed and treatable condition.

The shocking truth is that this terrible scourge of gluten is being ignored by most medical practitioners. Even worse, the blood tests that can diagnose it are being abandoned by many medical laboratories. For instance, Medlab Diagnostics in Auckland no longer offers gliadin antibody tests.

The medical professions reluctance to act on the gluten problem is costing New Zealand billions of dollars each year with long term and far reaching consequences. From a dollars and cents point of view it makes no economic sense. From a patient care point of view it is bordering on negligence.

Doctor Ford is a keynote speaker and exhibitor at the July Gluten Free Food and Allergy Show in Auckland on July 5th and 6th. He is available to the public at his booth and will be expanding on the gluten controversy as well as presenting his research into the adverse effects of gluten on the brain and nervous system.


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