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Rise and fall of coeliac disease 1960-85.
  1. D A Kelly,
  2. A D Phillips,
  3. E J Elliott,
  4. J A Dias,
  5. J A Walker-Smith
  1. Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children, London.

    Abstract

    A total of 192 children who presented with coeliac disease to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children from 1960-85 were reviewed in order to investigate the frequency and the age of presentation. There was a clear peak in the number of children presenting from 1971-5, and although the numbers declined subsequently they have remained at a level similar to numbers found before 1971. There was no difference in the mode of presentation but there was a definite increase in the age of presentation over the time period reviewed. Breast fed babies presented later than bottle fed babies (14 compared with 9 months) despite a similar age of gluten introduction. Similarly bottle fed babies and breast fed babies presented later after 1975 (10.5 compared with 7 months, and 18 compared with 9.5 months, respectively). Before 1975 the median age of gluten introduction was significantly less than that after 1975 (2 compared with 4 months) and the age of gluten introduction correlated with the age of presentation. It is concluded that breast feeding and the age of gluten introduction may influence the age of presentation of childhood coeliac disease but no clear reasons for the rise in incidence in the 1970s have been determined. It does not appear that the disease is declining, however, in recent years children have tended to present later in life.

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