Celiac disease can be caused by a stomachache in childhood, the study claims

Celiac disease, in which victims are prevented from eating bread, pasta, and other gluten-containing foods, may be caused by a stomach defect in childhood

  • About one in every 100 Britons has an extremely rare condition, doctors say
  • Experts now believe that this is triggered by enteroviruses that occur in childhood
  • They say this discovery could pave the way for a vaccine to protect against it

Ben Spencer, medical correspondent for the Daily Mail

An illness that makes it impossible for the victims to eat bread, pasta and other gluten-containing foods could be triggered by a stomach bug in childhood.

The cause of celiac disease has always been a mystery – a common digestive problem.

However, experts believe that this is triggered by enteroviruses that occur in childhood. They say this discovery could pave the way for a vaccine that could protect against celiac disease.

Experts from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health tracked down 220 children from the age of three months to ten years

Experts from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health tracked down 220 children from the age of three months to ten years

Experts from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health tracked down 220 children from the age of three months to ten years

About one in 100 Britons has the condition, the only treatment for which there is a life without gluten.

This protein, which is usually derived from wheat, is found in pasta, most types of bread, breakfast cereals, biscuits, and cakes, and can cause stomach discomfort, fatigue, and serious problems for celiacs.

Experts from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health tracked down 220 children from the age of three months to the age of ten.

Everyone had genes that made them susceptible to celiac disease – sustained by 40 percent of the population.

During the decade of surveillance, 25 were diagnosed with celiac disease and the researchers found that they had 49 percent more enteroviruses.

They said in the British Medical Journal that they needed a lot more work to prove their results.

However, they added, "If the enterovirus is confirmed as a trigger, vaccination could reduce the risk of developing celiac disease."

,