Coeliac disease (CD) is a chronic disorder caused by hypersensitivity to some of the most common proteins (gluten) in the diet of the European population. CD affects as much as 1% of the Europeans (2.5 million people) and is the most common food intolerance in Europe. If recognised, CD patients have only limited access to safe gluten free products and there is no causal therapy available.
The project is part of the multicenter European project PREVENTCD (from ‘to prevent coeliac disease’) and is divided in 2 studies: the population study, which is performed in Sweden, and the family study. This website of PREVENTCD will mostly give you information on the family study. If you want to have more information of the population study, go to: www.umu.se/phmed/epidemi/celiaki/etics . The family study of PREVENTCD will be performed by 10 European countries and a total of 1000 children will be involved. The participating children and mothers will be followed during 1 to 3 years. The project will study the influence of the dietary history in the prevention of coeliac disease. The idea is if gradually small amounts of food substances are administered, the immune system ‘learns’ not to respond to this substance. This is also called ‘desensitisation’ or ‘induction of tolerance’. Recent Swedish studies indicate that giving small amounts of gluten to a newborn during the period of breast-feeding may prevent the development of coeliac disease. This has never been investigated in children from ‘coeliac disease families’.
The general objective of PREVENTCD is to significantly reduce the number of people suffering from CD in Europe, by developing primary prevention strategies for CD.
If the proposed early dietary intervention results in effective prevention of CD: development of new European guidelines for early nutrition in order to prevent the disease.