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Nutrients 2015, 7(9), 7163-7171; doi:10.3390/nu7095330

Central America in Transition: From Maize to Wheat Challenges and Opportunities

Laboratory of Immunogenetics, VU University Medical Center, Department of Medical Microbiology and Infection Control, PO Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Received: 15 June 2015 / Revised: 27 July 2015 / Accepted: 11 August 2015 / Published: 26 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gluten Related Disorders: People Shall not Live on Bread Alone)
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Abstract

The Central American countries: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama are in transition from a dietary culture based mainly on maize to a wheat-containing diet. Several other changes are occurring, such as a decrease of parasitic and infectious diseases. The environmental changes permit a prediction of an increase of celiac disease and other autoimmune diseases such as type I diabetes and thyroid disease in these genetically heterogeneous countries. At present, celiac disease and gluten-related disorders are considered to be of no relevance at the level of public health in these nations. This review documents the presence of celiac disease in Central America. It draws attention to some of the challenges in planning systematic studies in the region since up until recently celiac disease was unknown. The aim of this review is to disseminate knowledge obtained with preliminary data, to stimulate clinical and basic scientists to study these diseases in Central America and to alert authorities responsible for the planning of education and health, to find possibilities to avoid a rise in these disorders before the epidemics start, as has occurred in the Mediterranean countries. View Full-Text
Keywords: celiac disease; prevalence; HLA-DQ; serological tests; anti-Endomysium antibodies; tissue transglutaminase antibodies; hygiene hypothesis; old-friend hypothesis; Central America celiac disease; prevalence; HLA-DQ; serological tests; anti-Endomysium antibodies; tissue transglutaminase antibodies; hygiene hypothesis; old-friend hypothesis; Central America
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Peña, A.S.; Crusius, J.B.A. Central America in Transition: From Maize to Wheat Challenges and Opportunities. Nutrients 2015, 7, 7163-7171.

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