Indian scientists come up with quick cheap test for gluten intolerance

Testing for gluten intolerance also known as Celiac disease will be much easier now thanks to a test developed by a team of Indian scientists. For starters the disease is caused by a reaction to gliadin - a gluten protein found in wheat, barley, rye.

Thanks to an collaborative projective between scientists at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) , AIIMS, and the International Centre of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, new kits will soon be available that could confirm the diagnosis within 20 minutes.

According to a report in Business Standard, scientists have developed a new kit called Celiac Card, which is "a point of care test that gives result in 20 minutes." The report adds that unlike the other test Celiac Microlisa, which is helpful for bigger hospitals and labs, the newer card based kit will be cheaper and "can be used by smaller hospitals and clinics".

According to a study by Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (Nims) in Hyderabad, the disease affects quite a few people in India and that many were unaware of the same. Dr Rao who had conducted the research told TOI that gluten is even found in processed foods, which adds to the problems.

Gluten-free donuts are seen in this file photo. Reuters

Gluten-free donuts are seen in this file photo. Reuters

Essentially the disease leads to inflammation and destruction of the inner lining of the small intestine and very often the symptoms are not all noticeable. The symptoms can range from rashes to anaemia to fatigue to diarrhoea. If the disease is not treated, it puts those patients at high risks for various forms of stomach cancer.

According to a report in the Telegraph Shinjini Bhatnagar, a paediatrician and part of the team that came up with the test says, "(the test) can also be done without need for a sophisticated laboratory or highly skilled staff.” She adds that in many cases the right diagnosis is not given as a lot of hospitals are not equipped to test for this disease.

The report also points out that currently all kits "imported from Europe or the US and are typically available only in large hospitals in cities."

Interestingly celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow have been promoting a gluten-free diet. However before going for a gluten-free diet, it's best that you get yourself tested. Having even some of the symptoms doesn't mean you're necessarily suffering from it. Now the testing just got easier.

Updated Date: Oct 29, 2014 16:13 PM

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