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4th national coeliac awareness conference

Knut Lundin, a professor of medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway and a leading consultant gastroenterologist at the Endoscopy Unit at Oslo University Hospital Rikshospitalet, was keynote speaker at the fourth national coeliac awareness conference, organised by Narrative Structures and held under the patronage of President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.

Speaking at Verdala Palace, Prof. Lundin, who is also president of the European Society for the Study of Coeliac Disease, spoke about coeliac disease and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, which involves people who test negative for coeliac disease but who still feel unwell after consuming gluten.

He said the latter could be hypersensitive to gluten – and there are many who are or could also be reacting to a group of carbohydrates which could include or exclude gluten, referred to as FODMAPs. Foods high in FODMAPs include bread, barley, yoghurt, apples, apricots, pears and cauliflower.

Two weeks ago, The Sunday Times of Malta and Narrative Structures revealed that Malta would soon start screening children for coeliac disease by taking a blood drop from the fingertip.

The massive project, which will include schoolchildren and is called the ITAMA project, is being financed by the European Fund of the Programme INTERREG Italia-Malta. It officially kicked off last Friday.

The screening forms part of a larger project which involves tools for the diagnosis of autoimmune disease in the Mediterranean. It is being led by the Department of Physics and Chemistry at the University of Palermo and directed by Prof. Giuseppe Raso. Malta is a partner in the project with Prof. Giuseppe Magazzu, director of the Paediatric Gastroenterology and Cystic Fibrosis Unit, University Hospital Policlinico G. Martino in Messina as clinical director of the coeliac disease section of the project.

The conference was supported by Barilla and Golden Harvest, as well as Dr Schar and Peak’s Free From, together with NGOs (Malta Coeliac Association, Maltese Paediatric Association and Malta College of Family Doctors) and the Times of Malta as media partner.

In 2015, Narrative Structures launched its first national coeliac conference. For more information, e-mail information@narrativestructures.com or look up Narrative Structures on Facebook.

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