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1.  Unusually High Incidence of Paediatric Coeliac Disease in Sweden during the Period 1973 – 2013 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(12):e0144346.
The prevalence of coeliac disease in Sweden during the “epidemic period” (1984−1996) was one of the highest in the world. The aim of this study was to assess the coeliac disease incidence in our region over the 41-year period, and how diagnostic activity and diagnostic accuracy were affected by the introduction of antibody testing. We also looked into how patients with mild enteropathy were evaluated.
In the county of Östergötland in Sweden, 2790 paediatric patients were investigated for suspected coeliac disease between 1973 and 2013. Notes were scrutinised for data on sex, age, histopathological reports and final diagnosis. For comparative purposes this period was divided into three sub-periods (1973−1983, 1984−1996 and 1997−2013) named pre-epidemic, epidemic and post-epidemic.
Coeliac disease diagnosis was received by 1,030 patients. The peak incidence rate, 301 cases/100,000 in 1994 for the age group 0−1.9 years is the highest figure ever reported. The other age groups, 2−4.9, 5−14.9, and 15−17.9 years, also had high incidence rates. After the 1984−1996 “epidemic period” the incidence decreased for the youngest group but continued to increase for the other groups. The cumulative incidence at 18 years-of-age for children born during the epidemic reached 14 cases/1000 births, the highest figure hitherto reported. Diagnostic activity differed significantly between the three sub-periods (p<0.001) increasing gradually from 1984 and reaching a peak value of 0.87 in 2012. Cases of mild enteropathy were more frequently regarded as non-coeliac disease cases, decreasing significantly in the “post-epidemic” period (p<0.001).
The incidence rate and cumulative incidence of coeliac disease were possibly the highest ever reported. Changes in diagnostic activity and accuracy could not be attributed to the introduction of new antibody tests, possibly because of other changes e.g. variations in the symptoms at presentation and improved knowledge of the disease among parents and health professionals.
PMCID: PMC4676692  PMID: 26658809
2.  Severe Eczema in Infancy Can Predict Asthma Development. A Prospective Study to the Age of 10 Years 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99609.
Children with atopic eczema in infancy often develop allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma, but the term “atopic march” has been questioned as the relations between atopic disorders seem more complicated than one condition progressing into another.
In this prospective multicenter study we followed children with eczema from infancy to the age of 10 years focusing on sensitization to allergens, severity of eczema and development of allergic airway symptoms at 4.5 and 10 years of age.
On inclusion, 123 children were examined. Hanifin-Rajka criteria and SCORAD index were used to describe the eczema. Episodes of wheezing were registered, skin prick tests and IgE tests were conducted and questionnaires were filled out. Procedures were repeated at 4.5 and 10 years of age with additional examinations for ARC and asthma.
94 out of 123 completed the entire study. High SCORAD points on inclusion were correlated with the risk of developing ARC, (B = 9.86, P = 0.01) and asthma, (B = 10.17, P = 0.01). For infants with eczema and wheezing at the first visit, the OR for developing asthma was 4.05(P = 0.01). ARC at 4.5 years of age resulted in an OR of 11.28(P = 0.00) for asthma development at 10 years.
This study indicates that infant eczema with high SCORAD points is associated with an increased risk of asthma at 10 years of age. Children with eczema and wheezing episodes during infancy are more likely to develop asthma than are infants with eczema alone. Eczema in infancy combined with early onset of ARC seems to indicate a more severe allergic disease, which often leads to asthma development. The progression from eczema in infancy to ARC at an early age and asthma later in childhood shown in this study supports the relevance of the term “atopic march”, at least in more severe allergic disease.
PMCID: PMC4051764  PMID: 24914552
3.  Noncontaminated Dietary Oats May Hamper Normalization of the Intestinal Immune Status in Childhood Celiac Disease 
Life-long, strict gluten-free diet (GFD) is the only treatment for celiac disease (CD). Because there is still uncertainty regarding the safety of oats for CD patients, the aim was to investigate whether dietary oats influence the immune status of their intestinal mucosa.
Paired small intestinal biopsies, before and after >11 months on a GFD, were collected from children with CD who were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind intervention trial to either of two diets: standard GFD (GFD-std; n=13) and noncontaminated oat-containing GFD (GFD-oats; n=15). Expression levels of mRNAs for 22 different immune effector molecules and tight junction proteins were determined by quantitative reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR.
The number of mRNAs that remained elevated was higher in the GFD-oats group (P=0.05). In particular, mRNAs for the regulatory T cell (Treg) signature molecules interleukin-10 (IL-10) and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), the cytotoxicity-activating natural killer (NK) receptors KLRC2/NKG2C and KLRC3/NKG2E, and the tight junction protein claudin-4 remained elevated. Between the two groups, most significant differences were seen for claudin-4 (P=0.003) and KLRC3/NKG2E (P=0.04).
A substantial fraction of pediatric CD patients seem to not tolerate oats. In these patients, dietary oats influence the immune status of the intestinal mucosa with an mRNA profile suggesting presence of activated cytotoxic lymphocytes and Tregs and a stressed epithelium with affected tight junctions. Assessment of changes in levels of mRNA for claudin-4 and KLC3/NKG2E from onset to after a year on oats containing GFD shows promise to identify these CD patients.
PMCID: PMC4077043  PMID: 24964993
4.  Faecal short-chain fatty acid pattern in childhood coeliac disease is normalised after more than one year's gluten-free diet 
Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease  2013;24:10.3402/mehd.v24i0.20905.
Recent work indicates that the gut microflora is altered in patients with coeliac disease (CD). Faecal short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are produced by the gut microflora. We have previously reported a high SCFA output in children with symptomatic and asymptomatic CD at presentation, as well as in CD children on a gluten-free diet (GFD) for less than 1 year, indicating deviant gut microfloral function. In this report, we focus on faecal SCFA production in coeliacs on GFD for more than 1 year.
Materials and methods
Faecal samples were collected from 53 children with CD at presentation, 74 coeliac children on GFD for less than 1 year, and 25 individuals diagnosed with CD in childhood and on GFD for more than 1 year. The control group comprised 54 healthy children (HC). The faecal samples were analysed to show the SCFA pattern taken as a marker of gut microflora function. We applied a new fermentation index, reflecting the inflammatory activity of the SCFAs (amount of acetic acid minus propionic acid and n-butyric acid, together divided by the total amount of SCFAs).
In coeliacs on GFD for more than 1 year, the individual SCFAs, total SCFA, and fermentation index did not differ significantly from the findings in controls. In contrast, the faecal SCFA level was clearly higher in coeliacs treated with GFD for less than 1 year compared to those more than 1 year.
This is the first study on SCFA patterns in faecal samples from individuals with CD on GFD for more than 1 year. Our study indicates that the disturbed gut microflora function in children with CD at presentation and after less than 1 year of GFD, previously demonstrated by us, is normalised on GFD for more than 1 year.
PMCID: PMC3784671  PMID: 24082880
children; coeliac disease; gluten free diet; faecal short chain fatty acids; gut microflora
5.  Asthma Heredity, Cord Blood IgE and Asthma-Related Symptoms and Medication in Adulthood: A Long-Term Follow-Up in a Swedish Birth Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66777.
Cord blood IgE has previously been studied as a possible predictor of asthma and allergic diseases. Results from different studies have been contradictory, and most have focused on high-risk infants and early infancy. Few studies have followed their study population into adulthood. This study assessed whether cord blood IgE levels and a family history of asthma were associated with, and could predict, asthma medication and allergy-related respiratory symptoms in adults. A follow-up was carried out in a Swedish birth cohort comprising 1,701 consecutively born children. In all, 1,661 individuals could be linked to the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register and the Medical Birth Register, and 1,227 responded to a postal questionnaire. Cord blood IgE and family history of asthma were correlated with reported respiratory symptoms and dispensed asthma medication at 32–34 years. Elevated cord blood IgE was associated with a two- to threefold increased risk of pollen-induced respiratory symptoms and dispensed anti-inflammatory asthma medication. Similarly, a family history of asthma was associated with an increased risk of pollen-induced respiratory symptoms and anti-inflammatory medication. However, only 8% of the individuals with elevated cord blood IgE or a family history of asthma in infancy could be linked to current dispensation of anti-inflammatory asthma medication at follow-up. In all, 49 out of 60 individuals with dispensed anti-inflammatory asthma medication at 32–34 years of age had not been reported having asthma at previous check-ups of the cohort during childhood. Among those, only 5% with elevated cord blood IgE and 6% with a family history of asthma in infancy could be linked to current dispensation of anti-inflammatory asthma medication as adults. Elevated cord blood IgE and a positive family history of asthma were associated with reported respiratory symptoms and dispensed asthma medication in adulthood, but their predictive power was poor in this long-time follow-up.
PMCID: PMC3689672  PMID: 23805276
6.  Health-Related Quality of Life in Children and Adolescents with Celiac Disease: From the Perspectives of Children and Parents 
Aim. To examine how celiac children and adolescents on gluten-free diet valued their health-related quality of life, and if age and severity of the disease at onset affected the children's self-valuation later in life. We also assessed the parents' valuation of their child's quality of life. Methods. The DISABKIDS Chronic generic measure, short versions for both children and parents, was used on 160 families with celiac disease. A paediatric gastroenterologist classified manifestations of the disease at onset retrospectively. Results. Age or sex did not influence the outcome. Children diagnosed before the age of five scored higher than children diagnosed later. Children diagnosed more than eight years ago scored higher than more recently diagnosed children, and children who had the classical symptoms of the disease at onset scored higher than those who had atypical symptoms or were asymptomatic. The parents valuated their children's quality of life as lower than the children did. Conclusion. Health-related quality of life in treated celiac children and adolescents was influenced by age at diagnosis, disease severity at onset, and years on gluten-free diet. The disagreement between child-parent valuations highlights the importance of letting the children themselves be heard about their perceived quality of life.
PMCID: PMC3324145  PMID: 22548054

Results 1-6 (6)