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  4. Occurrence of coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis in the UK

Occurrence of coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis in the UK

Principal Investigator: Dr Colin Crooks

Institution: Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham

Research classification: Management of coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis

Grant awarded: £30k

Frequently research involves collecting new data on patients, however this is expensive and usually results in small studies where there can be large amounts of uncertainty. In contrast much information is now collected anonymously and electronically as part of routine practice in healthcare. This information may be used to carry our large studies that can provide more accurate and less biased results.

Exploring this complex data it has been previously shown that there is an increase in the diagnosis of coeliac disease in the UK, and that there are discrepancies in its diagnosis by region and deprivation. The data also showed that only 24% of the people estimated to have coeliac disease in the UK have been diagnosed and there have been misdiagnoses, with one in four people diagnosed with coeliac disease having previously been treated for irritable bowel syndrome.

 This study is designed to use the latest data to answer:

  • Has the increase in diagnosis continued?

Answers to this question will help us understand whether the increase was due to recent advances in diagnostic tests or an actual increase in disease burden.

  • Are the variations in diagnosis increasing?

This will help health system planning in assessing where there might be under diagnosis.

  • Are people continuing to being wrongly diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome when they actually have coeliac disease?

By highlighting this issue, the answer will help prevent late diagnosis of coeliac disease in people suffering from abdominal symptoms.

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