Mass screening for celiac disease is studied in Sweden

Mass screening for celiac as a public health intervention has been a controversial subject, though you may wonder why.  If mass screening could reduce health complications in people with undiagnosed celiac, then why isn’t it already being implemented?  A recent study was conducted in Sweden, to address the issues of implementation and acceptability of such mass screenings.  In the study, adolescents and their parents were questioned about their experiences after having participated in a mass screening to detect celiac, and were also asked to comment on possible mass screenings in the future,  having gone through the experience.

145 adolescents (6th graders) with screening-detected celiac, found in a Swedish school-based screening study, along with their parents,  were asked to participate in the study, one year after their initial diagnosis of celiac. 14 focus group discussions were conducted with 31 adolescents and 43 parents. 91 adolescents (63%) and 105 parents (72%) completed a written narrative, and 114 parents returned questionnaires (79%). All the data was analyzed, using qualitative content analysis, and the date from the narratives and questionnaires allowed for quantified measures.

The study results listed the reasons why the adolescents and parents agreed to participate in the study,  and the majority said it was primarily to help others in the interest of research and they did not consider the consequences for themselves. According to a BMC (BioMed Central) abstract of the study, many felt the offer of a free screening was “hard to resist”. The adolescents who received a celiac diagnosis, described it as a “bolt of lighting”, and for some the diagnosis provided relief after suffering from poor health. The attitude of the majority of those diagnosed, was overall gratefulness.

Though a very small population of the group thought screening should be only for those suffering from symptoms, and some questioned the benefits of mass screening, 92% of parents were in complete  support of future celiac screening. The majority  felt screening should be available for everyone, and offered as early as possible.

The study helped the Swedish researchers understand the perspective of the adolescents and parents who participated in a mass screening, and will help bring awareness to implementation of such a program.

To read more details on the study visit BioMed Central:

Do you think mass screening for celiac should be implemented in the US and elsewhere?  Provide your feedback below.

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On October 21st, 2011, posted in: CeliacCorner Blogs by
One Response to Mass screening for celiac disease is studied in Sweden
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