2015-01-13 16:15:47 UTC

AGA-Funded Researcher to Expand Knowledge of Celiac Disease

Jan. 15, 2015

img Your AGA Research Foundation gifts support Benjamin Lebwohl, MD, MS, from Columbia University, who received the 2014 AGA Research Scholar Award for his project: risk factors for celiac disease and the health effects of gluten.

img Your AGA Research Foundation gifts support Benjamin Lebwohl, MD, MS, from Columbia University, who received the 2014 AGA Research Scholar Award for his project: risk factors for celiac disease and the health effects of gluten.

“My project focuses on celiac disease, a common immune-based disease that now affects approximately 1 percent of the population. This disease is treated with a gluten-free diet, and untreated celiac disease can cause anemia, osteoporosis, neurologic dysfunction, infertility, depression and can increase the risk of malignancy and death. The reasons for the rise in celiac disease rates in the U.S. have not been adequately studied. A related topic of importance for public health is the question of whether gluten affects health outcomes in the general population. By analyzing well-characterized, large cohorts (including the Nurses’ Health Study, the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, and the Growing Up Today Study), I aim to identify risk factors for the development of celiac disease, so as to better understand the reasons for its recent rise in incidence. I also aim to develop a “gluten index” using food frequency questionnaire data collected in these cohorts. I will then use this index to test whether gluten consumption is associated with cardiovascular and other health outcomes in the general population. These studies will be funded by the AGA Research Scholar Award, which is providing critical support for my development as an investigator.”

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