Dr. Alessio Fasano of the University of Maryland, in a 2003 study,
called celiac disease "the only autoimmune disease where (the) trigger
"That trigger is gluten," Fasano wrote.
Lindsey Hanks, now 9, said it can be challenging to eat a gluten-free
diet. She almost always brings her own lunch to school and has to avoid
common childhood favorites such as pizza and cake — unless her mom is
"Sometimes I get something in my system that I wasn't supposed to eat,
and I'll get pretty sick," she said. "If I have a stomachache, my mother
always asks, 'What did you eat today?' "
Shelli Hanks said everyone in her family eats a gluten-free diet at
"I think it's helpful for her that I have it too," she said. "It's not
just what she couldn't have, but what we couldn't have."
Wilson, who is president of the Southern Arizona Celiac Support group,
said that when her brother was diagnosed in 2001, she never had heard of
Her sister had been sick for a while and was receiving weekly iron
shots, but a diagnosis was elusive.
A year later, Wilson, 52, decided to try a gluten-free diet after years
of worsening stomach problems.
"I also had chronic fatigue. Within 10 or 15 minutes of eating gluten, I
would fall asleep," she said.
When it got bad, she said, she would just skip meals instead of risking
stomach upset again.
At this point, 25 family members have been diagnosed with celiac
disease, including both parents and all but one of her seven siblings.
Wilson is now very selective about what she eats.
"I'm so careful because not every celiac gets as sick as I do," she
said. "I bring my food everywhere I go. I will not eat if I have nothing
gluten-free to eat."
Kurth was 5 years old in 1937. He was anemic, had chronic diarrhea and
visiting German doctor may have saved his life with a then-unusual
diagnosis, at least for this country: "celiac sprue."
recommended a diet of liver, bananas and cottage cheese," Kurth said.
"This regimen lasted for two years."
Kurth also took folic acid for
anemia. It worked — for a while.
He didn't become extremely ill
again until 10 years later. Then, the return of horrible diarrhea. His
weight dropped from 128 pounds to 62 pounds.
"I was skin and bones,"
What saved him this time was not the insight of a doctor,
but half a roll of toilet paper. He ate it alone in his hospital room at
2 a.m. after overhearing doctors talk about his dire situation.
Somehow, he said, eating the paper stopped the upset. His doctors called
it a miracle, but Kurth had no idea how to protect himself from another
In 1957, Kurth married his wife, Ann.
"I was eating
casseroles and other foods. Some of it bothered me; some of it didn't,"
he said, explaining diarrhea was still a problem.
"Then I developed
At age 32, it was a dietitian who passed on the words
Kurth said have enabled him to live well since.
"She said, 'No more
wheat, oats, barley or malt,' " Kurth said. The advice worked.
with the good Lord's permission its recovery.