Guest: Dr. Alessio Fasano
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Dr Fasano will visit Sydney, Australia as a speaker at the 4th BioCeuticals Research Symposium (22-24 April, 2016) to educate Australian health professionals on celiac disease, and awareness of celiac disease as a growing public health problem. Dr Fasano is the author of Gluten Freedom, which examines the groundbreaking roadmap to a gluten-free lifestyle.
Segment overview: Dr. Alessio Fasano, MD, talks about Celiac Disease and treatment and follow-up.
Health Professional Radio – Celiac Disease Treatment
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you so much for joining us today. Our guest in studio this afternoon is world-renowned Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Research Scientist, and Entrepreneur Dr. Alessio Fasano. He founded the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment in 1996. His visionary research has led to the awareness of Celiac Disease as a growing public health problem here in the United States. He is going to be visiting Australia, April the 22nd through the 24th at the 4th BioCeuticals Research Symposium, entitled Revolution Strategies for Complex Diseases. The Symposium highlights the latest treatment options for “leaky gut, autoimmune diseases,” covering a range of fields and Dr. Fasano is going to be there as a key speaker. Welcome to Health Professional Radio, Dr. Fasano.
Dr. Alessio Fasano: Thank you for having me on the show.
N: Thank you. Now you are the author of “Gluten Freedom”, a book that examines a ground breaking roadmap to a gluten-free lifestyle. And also you say that treating celiac disease could provide clues to treating symptoms for other autoimmune diseases because celiac disease is only the autoimmune disease that we have a treatment for as you said in another segment. Is that correct Doctor?
F: Yes, you are. You know sometimes it’s very difficult to really understand how this autoimmune disease they materialize and therefore how you can approach for treatment and ideally prevention. And the reason why because there are many, many variables that you can’t control. Celiac disease still is very difficult to study, but there are many I mean the number of variables are much lower and therefore you can really have a better understanding of the intimate mechanisms that eventually leads to autoimmunity and then this is kind of knowledge that can be stipulated to other autoimmune diseases like diabetes, and multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, IBD and so on an so forth.
N: Do you see a prevalence of Celiac Disease in one age group or another or in one region of the country or the world as for that matter?
F: We did at the beginning as a matter of fact this was believed to be a disease that was pretty much confined in Northern Europe and affecting all only kids. Now we understand that there is a global village of celiac disease because there is no sex, no age, no race, no corner in the world that is spared by celiac disease provided that the two key elements either genetic predisposition and ingestion of gluten containing grains are there.
N: Now you’ve discovered that intestinal permeability or leaky gut is that what is commonly known as? That’s a common denominator in many autoimmune diseases?
F: Correct. Again this was the kind of information that we we’re able to acquire by again using celiac disease as a prototype of autoimmune diseases. And when we learned that that was a key element because physiologically we always wonder how big molecules that will instigate an immune response. So that leads to autoimmunity can get access in our body when we have barriers that prevent this to happen, how this can be. And the question was resolved when we learned that again, celiac disease, and now we learned that many other autoimmune diseases in which the common denominator of loss of barrier function are part of the equation that will lead to loss of tolerance and then autoimmunity. So now I believe generally accepted that this barrier function is a key element to the pathogenesis and there are pretty strong evidence in many autoimmune diseases that’s part of the machinery that leads to autoimmune process.
N: Now is the treatment for celiac the same no matter who is suffering from the disease or does the treatment vary based on levels of celiac, or is there even such as a thing as levels of the disease?
F: Well actually the treatment is the same for everybody. So everybody that is affected by the disease has to be on a gluten-free diet in order to control the symptoms. Of course the severity of the disease varies from region to region therefore the efficacy of the treatment in terms of… symptoms and or the timing of resolution of symptoms, maybe be changed from one individual to another.
N: As the author of Gluten Freedom, will you be discussing some of the chapters in your book when you visit the 4th BioCeuticals Symposium in Sydney, Australia this year?
F: Yes, we definitely will.
N: You say previously symptoms were recognized in a very small number of people. What was it that led to this discovery of so many more people having this disease, and to it not just being limited to children?
F: Well, this kind of discoveries when recently with the availability of more and more laboratory screening tools. And when we were able to eventually have good and reliable tests, we started with screening the people that they were at risk like family members…and autoimmune disease, we knew that there was increased risk in family members and then we start to spend this test to people at risk because they have signs or symptoms that been linked to celiac disease. And then eventually we expand this to the general population and that’s how we learn the wealth of symptoms that people they can really present with this disease. Including people that they are totally asymptomatic so then they have no symptoms yet and yet they are already affected by the autoimmune process.
N: What type of reception have you received concerning your new research as it relates to gut permeability and do feel that healthcare professionals in Australia will be more receptive, less receptive or is the information going to speak for itself?
F: Well the destiny of when you stumble upon transformation of research, so in other words something that brings you to a new paradigm of science, a place where never been before is that skepticism is the way that in general your research is it will be eventually approached with. And therefore at the beginning of this idea that you can even consider that an autoimmune disease can be treated by treating the gut permeability was really an object of tremendous amount of debating criticism. In the past 10 years the field… have moved forward and there’s more and more acceptance there, I have to say because I’ve been in Australia several times invited to talk with the topics that I found these some healthcare professionals are more receptive to and more open minded to new paradigm of science so I would expect these things are gonna happen in April.
N: You’ve been listening to Health, I’m your host Neal Howard. Our guest has been Dr. Alessio Fasano, world-renowned Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Research Scientist, Entrepreneur and also Author of Gluten Freedom. He is going to be a keynote speaker at the 4th BioCeuticals Symposium entitled Revolutionary Strategies for Complex Diseases happening in Sydney, Australia, April the 22nd through the 24th of this year. It’s been great having you here with us this afternoon Dr. Fasano.
F: Thank you for having me on the show.
N: Thank you. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.