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NIH Office of the Director (OD)

Monday, June 21, 2004

Kelli Marciel
NIH Consensus Development Program

NIH Consensus Development Conference to Assess Evidence on Celiac Disease

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will hold a Consensus Development Conference on Celiac Disease, June 28-30, 2004 at the Natcher Conference Center on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

Celiac disease is a disorder primarily affecting the gastrointestinal tract that is characterized by chronic inflammation of the mucosa, which leads to atrophy of intestinal villi, malabsorption, and protean clinical manifestations which may begin either in childhood or adult life. Celiac disease's major genetic risk factors (HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8), and environmental trigger (specific peptides present in wheat, rye and barley) have been identified and most patients experience complete remission after exclusion of these grains from the diet. Thus, there has been considerable scientific progress in understanding this complex disease and in preventing or curing its manifestations by dietary interventions. Still, a number of questions remain with regard to the prevalence of celiac disease and appropriate testing strategies.

The upcoming conference will bring together epidemiologists, pediatricians, gastroenterologists, pathologists, internists, and other specialists, along with patients and their family members, to examine the evidence available from various aspects of celiac disease research. Specifically, the conference will address the following key questions:

  1. How is celiac disease diagnosed?
  2. How prevalent is celiac disease?
  3. What are the manifestations and long-term consequences of celiac disease?
  4. Who should be tested for celiac disease?
  5. What is the management of celiac disease?
  6. What are the recommendations for future research on celiac disease and related conditions?

During the first day and part of the second day of the conference, experts will present the latest research findings in celiac disease to the independent consensus panel. After weighing all of the scientific evidence, the panel will prepare its statement addressing the questions listed above. The panel will present its draft statement to the public for comment at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 30. Following this public comment session, and a subsequent executive session to weigh the input provided, the panel will hold a news conference at 2:00 p.m. to take questions from the media.

The primary sponsors of this conference are the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the Office of Medical Applications of Research, NIH.

For additional information about this conference, please visit the NIH Consensus Development Program Web site at http://consensus.nih.gov.

Note to TV Editors: The news conference at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30, 2004 will be broadcast live via satellite on the following coordinates:

Galaxy 3 Transponder 07 C-Band
Orbital slot: 95 degrees West
Uplink Freq: 6065 Vertical
Downlink Freq: 3840 Horizontal
Audio 6.2/6.8
Test time: 1:30 - 2:00 p.m. ET
Broadcast: 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. ET

Note to Radio Editors: An audio report of the conference results will be available after 4 p.m. June 30, 2004 from the NIH Radio News Service by calling 1-800-MED-DIAL (1-800-633-3425).

NIH Videocasting will broadcast the conference live on the Internet. Visit the Consensus Development Program homepage — http://consensus.nih.gov/ — or go directly to the NIH Videocast Web site — http://videocast.nih.gov/ — any day during the conference and look for the link to the conference under "Today's Events."

The NIH comprises the Office of the Director and 27 Institutes and Centers. The Office of the Director is the central office at NIH, and is responsible for setting policy for NIH and for planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all the NIH components. The NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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