Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Unveils Video Campaign at 13th Anniversary Gala to Demonstrate the Severity of Celiac Disease for Patients

  • An estimated 3 million Americans have celiac disease; 83 percent of people remain undiagnosed
  • Incidence of celiac disease is now four times higher than 50-60 years ago
  • “I Didn’t Know” video series demonstrates the importance of awareness and diagnosis for celiac disease sufferers

/ PR Newswire / — The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, the premier center for celiac disease research and treatment, unveiled the I Didn’t Know video campaign, offering an inside look at the serious impact of celiac disease on patients at the 13th Anniversary gala on November 13th in New York City. The series chronicles the lives of several patients experiencing a wide range of debilitating symptoms associated with undiagnosed celiac disease, including an inability to walk, developmental delays, multiple miscarriages and infertility.
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Celiac disease, considered a “major public health issue” by experts in the field, is an incurable autoimmune disorder characterized by intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. This intolerance causes the body’s immune system to attack the small intestine, causing malabsorption of nutrients and a number of issues in many organ systems. The variety of symptoms, combined with general lack of awareness of the disease, often leads to misdiagnosis or no diagnosis at all.

Diagnosis of celiac disease is confirmed by an intestinal biopsy, once blood tests and symptoms indicate potential for the disease. The videos discuss the importance of a celiac disease diagnosis and features patients like Katie Bruno, who suffered three second trimester still-born births, but was not initially tested for celiac disease because she did not suffer from digestive issues. Following her diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease, Katie once again got pregnant and was able to carry the pregnancy full term.

“Once I was diagnosed there was a feeling of relief as I finally knew what was happening after all of this time and had the tools to manage my disease,” said Katie. “My symptoms are now under control and we are blessed to have the son and the life we had always hoped for. I urge anyone who suspects they have celiac disease to go and get tested. It changed my life.”

Ongoing and extensive research of celiac disease is imperative to increase awareness and diagnosis, which will ultimately improve the quality of life for those suffering with the disease. To fund this research, the Center hosted the 13th Anniversary Gala on November 13th at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. The Gala is the Center’s largest fundraiser, focused on raising awareness and funds for further research of celiac disease and will celebrate 13 years of commitment and dedication to profoundly improving the lives of individuals with celiac disease around the globe. This year’s host was Jonathan LaPook, MD, chief medical correspondent CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley. Honorees for the event included Dan Barber, Kevin Burkhardt and Michael & Judi Sawyer to recognize their outstanding support of research and awareness in celiac disease.

“Part of the Celiac Disease Center’s mission is to ensure proper treatment and diagnosis of celiac disease, one of the most common and under-diagnosed, hereditary, autoimmune conditions in the U.S. today. In an environment saturated with gluten-free diet trends, it’s important that patients and healthcare providers understand the severity of the disease and have access to the best treatment for disease management to improve their quality of life,” said Peter Green, MD, Phyllis & Ivan Seidenberg Professor of Medicine and Director, Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University.

To learn more about celiac disease and the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, please contact Cynthia Beckman at 212-342-4529 or email cb2280@cumc.columbia.edu.

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About the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University
Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University provides comprehensive medical care for adults and pediatric patients with celiac disease, including nutrition and attention to the multiple associated conditions that occur in celiac disease. The Center is involved in the care of thousands of patients with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, providing better access to proper testing, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care. The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University is ranked the number one institution for celiac disease and the center’s director, Dr. Peter Green, has been named the number one celiac disease expert in the world, according to ExpertScape.i For more information about the center, visit celiacdiseasecenter.columbia.edu.

About Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an incurable autoimmune disorder characterized by intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. In people with celiac disease, the body’s immune system attacks and damages the small intestine in response to the presence of gluten. The damage causes people suffering from celiac disease to become malnourished as the body can no longer absorb the nutrients found in food. Symptoms of celiac disease include, but are not limited to, abdominal bloating and pain, vomiting, weight loss, seizures, bone or joint pain/loss, infertility or recurrent miscarriage. The nature of this immune response is not an allergic reaction, but a delayed immune response.

According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 3 million Americans suffer from some form of celiac disease, yet 83 percent of cases are undiagnosed, leaving millions at risk. The variety of symptoms combined with a general lack of awareness of the disease often leads to misdiagnosis, or no diagnosis. The average time to diagnosis is currently more than 9 years.

Cynthia Beckman
Director of Development
email: cb2280@cumc.columbia.edu
phone: (212) 342-4529

iCeliac Disease: Worldwide - Expertscape.com. (2014, January 1). Retrieved September 26, 2014, from http://www.expertscape.com/ex/celiac disease

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