Setting the Table for Celiacs: Q&A with Celiac Disease Program’s Nutritionist

University of Maryland Medical Center nutritionist Pam Cureton answers questions about celiac disease and gluten-free diets.

pam-cureton-rdQ: What is gluten?

A: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. These grains in any form must be avoided. Foods labeled gluten free are safe to eat but if a food item is not labeled gluten free look for these six words in the ingredient list to see if it contains a gluten containing ingredient: Wheat, Rye, Barley, Malt, Brewer’s yeast and Oat (only use oats that are labeled gluten free).

Q: What exactly is wrong with gluten?

A: The problem with gluten is that it is not completely broken down into smaller amino acids that can be easily absorbed by the intestine. For the majority of people this presents no problem at all but in individuals with celiac disease, the body sees this protein as a toxin and this sets off a string of reactions leading to intestinal villous damage.

Q: What cross contamination problems should I look for in the kitchen?

A: Preventing gluten free foods from coming in contact with gluten containing foods make the difference in your guest enjoying a wonderful holiday meal or becoming ill and leaving early. Guest with celiac disease cannot simply take the croutons out of a salad or eat the meat from the wheat bread sandwich. Gluten free foods can be contaminated by using the same spoon to mix or serve foods, putting wheat products next to the gluten free dips, “double dipping” the knife into a condiment then gluten containing product then back into the condiments or using the same toaster.

Q: Can you taste the difference between gluten-free foods and their gluten counterparts?

A: Gluten free foods have come a long way in their taste and texture to be very close to their gluten containing counterpart. There are so many great tasting gluten free products on the market today that no one should be eating something they do not like.

Q: What are the symptoms of Celiac Disease:

A: Celiac disease can present itself in many different forms. Untreated, celiac disease causes multi-system complications such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, iron deficiency anemia, decreased bone density, failure to thrive, short stature, and behavior problems. If you have any concerns, please check with your primary care provider before you start a gluten free diet.

Q: I have severe reactions when I eat bread, such as stomach bloating and pain in my joints. Does this mean I could have celiac or gluten sensitivity?

A: We recommend that you see your primary care provider and ask to be tested for celiac disease. However, do not start a gluten free diet before this testing is done. The first step is a simple blood test for screening. If all the tests are complete and you do not have celiac disease, then try a gluten free diet to see if you improve as it may be non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Q: How common is late-onset celiac disease and is there any way to know if other family members are at risk of developing it later in life?

A: It is possible to develop celiac disease at any age. You may have had celiac disease for many years before being diagnosed because symptoms may have been attributed to other conditions or you may not have had any symptoms with the active disease. We recommend that all first degree relatives be screened for celiac disease after the relative had been diagnosed and if negative at that time, repeat the screening labs every 2-3 years or if symptoms appear.

Q: Is there a cure for Celiac Disease?

A: Currently the only treatment for celiac disease is the gluten free diet. In most cases, this treatment works very well but it can be expensive, socially isolating and, at times, difficult to follow. Also, there are people that do not respond completely to the diet or take up to 2 years to heal after diagnosis. For these people, additional therapies are need to prevent additional complications of celiac disease.

 

Learn more about the Celiac Disease Program or call 410-328-6749 to make an appointment.

vegetables

 

UM Children’s Hospital Patient Gives Back in a Big Way

Michelle Kaminaris, a kindergarten teacher at Hampstead Hill Academy in East Baltimore, has seen kids miss school for all kinds of reasons. Like most of us, she never expected her own child to miss school due to a serious illness. But when her daughter Eva (an eighth grader at Hampstead Hill Academy) started showing flu-like symptoms, a trip to the doctor confirmed that Eva would be missing school due to pneumonia.

From there, Eva had more tests and doctors found a tumor on her ovaries. The tumor was removed after an emergency surgery, but she still had to spend time recovering at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH). While she endured a slew of poking and prodding and scary medical diagnoses, it was the Child Life team and other skilled nurses at UMCH who made her hospital stay a positive experience.

Group Photo

Eva (fourth from left) and Hampstead Hill Academy’s Kiwanis Builders Club pose with their donation to UMCH

“We had unbelievably phenomenal care. I never had to leave my daughter,” Michelle said. “One of the nurses even gave up his lunch hour to take Eva to play and walk around.”

Post-discharge and feeling better, Eva was determined to give back to the place that took such great care of her. She started looking online for ways to help and found UMCH’s toy wish list.

She sought help from her school’s Kiwanis Builders Club, and recruited some of her friends and classmates to help. The club, seven members strong, started planning fundraisers, bake sales, art supply and Band-Aid drives, and a paint night.

Shannon Joslin Builders Club

Shannon Joslin, Child Life Manager, describes the Child Life Program to the Hampstead Hill Academy Kiwanis Builders Club

The students stayed after school one day to stretch the canvases for the paint night by hand and helped cook food for the event. Thirty-five families came out after school to support the club and raise money for the cause.

The club went shopping for items on the UMCH wish list with the money from the fundraisers. They picked out high-demand items like DVDs, video games, building block sets and card games, all which they personally delivered to the hospital.

As Eva heads to high school, she wants to ensure that this is not a one-time donation. Even if she can’t start the club at her new high school, she plans to keep in touch and continue giving back to UMCH. Michelle’s youngest child, inspired by Eva’s involvement and by UMCH’s great care, plans continue the family tradition and join the Hampstead Hill Builders Club next year.

Many thanks to the Hampstead Hill Academy’s Kiwanis Builders Club! Your continued support of the Children’s Hospital ensures we have the resources available to make every patient’s stay comfortable and fun.

Learn more about the Child Life Program and meet the team.

Interested in giving to the Children’s Hospital? Here’s how you can help.


 

March of Dimes Thanks UMMC During Day of Gratitude

The March of Dimes recognized the University of Maryland Medical Center during their Day of Gratitude, Wednesday, Jan. 6. Staff at the UMMC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) received a plaque to commemorate their efforts to support the March of Dimes mission to improve the health of babies.

UMMC is one of 33 Maryland hospitals to earn banner recognition from the March of Dimes as part of its “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” campaign, which aims to reduce the number of elective births before a full term of 39 weeks. The March of Dimes partners with the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Maryland Patient Safety Center to award banners.

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Left to right: Katie Stover (MoD), Jennifer Tarr (MoD),  Treza James, Joan Treacy, Caroline McGinnis, Danielle Luers, Dr. El-Metwally, Jane Munoz, Dr. Bearer, Sara Bielecki (MoD), Penelope Shields

Thanks to our staff for all you do to keep babies healthy!

Learn more about the NICU at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital or visit the Maryland March of Dimes website.

 

A Season of Giving at UMCH

Slater Donation

Vicki Slater with Shannon Joslin and Kayleigh McQuaid of Child Life

For the past 10 years, Vicki and Earl Slater have decorated their house, put out drinks and desserts and invited their friends and family over for their annual holiday party. The catch? Each guest is asked to bring a toy to be donated to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH).

When the tradition started years ago, the Slaters had a simple goal in mind: to help the less fortunate. Years later, with a daughter-in-law working at UMMC as a respiratory therapist and a swath of their own young grandchildren, the donation has taken on a new meaning.

“When the kids were little, we thought about how important it was that the kids are healthy,” Vicki said.

The Slaters not only want to spread good will and joy, they also want to help families during difficult times. That’s why they donate to UMCH each year.

The Slaters dropped off the toys in time for the UMCH Snow Pile event, a toy workshop set up for parents and families of patients. Shoppers pick out toys for their sick loved ones for free, which often gives families at the hospital peace of mind knowing that they don’t have to scramble for gifts.

Ray Bachman on behalf of the Kamryn Lambert Foundation with Becky Halagarda, Shannon and Kayleigh

The same day the Slaters dropped off their donation, Ray Bachman of the Kamryn Lambert Foundation dropped off another generous donation—more than 100 Pillow Pets!

Bachman has been involved with giving for the past five years, and always seems to outdo the last year. Not only did he bring the Pillow Pets this year, he also brought enough batteries to power the electronic ones.

And that wasn’t all from the Kamryn Lambert Foundation. The very next week they dropped off another sizeable collection of toys, separated in large boxes by age appropriateness.

Local and state officials

District 25 officials visit a UMCH family

Even some members of the representatives from local and state government came out to support the Children’s Hospital. Members of the District 25 Team came for a visit, bringing a van full of toys and good cheer for all: Council Member Mel Franklin, District 9; State Delegate Darryl Barnes, District 25; Delegate Angela Angel, District 25; Delegate Dereck Davis, District 25; State Senator Ulysses Currie, District 25; and Phylicia Henry, Chief of Staff to Del Darryl Barnes.

Staff at the local Hampton Inn donated all sorts of toys, ranging from board games and coloring books to popular throwbacks like Slinkys. Daniel Thron, Sales Manager at the Hampton Inn, brought the toys over.

Thank you to all of the wonderful donors this holiday season. Thanks to you, the Children’s Hospital is able to keep Snow Pile going for another year.

Hampton Inn

Daniel Thron, Sales Manager of the Hampton Inn Baltimore, with Shannon and Maria Shaffer

The deadline for this year’s Snow Pile donations has passed; however, the Children’s Hospital collects in-kind donations year-round. Your generous support gives all of our patients something to smile about.

To learn more about how you can support the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital patients and programs, please visit http://umm.edu/programs/childrens/about/how-to-help and www.ummsfoundation.org

 

More toys from the Kamryn Lambert Foundation

Our trusty wagon is full of toys for patients!

 

(L-R) Delegate Darryl Barnes, State Senator Ulysses Currie, Delegate Dereck Davis and Council Member Mel Franklin

Debi Katzenberger, in red, plus helpers from the Kamryn Lambert Foundation

 

A Day in the Life

Yesterday was an exceptionally exciting day at the Medical Center.

Shock Trauma patients welcomed two violinists to the wing. USNA Midshipmen 1st Class Michelle de Vente and Deborah Mullen played a selection of holiday music for patients. Patients even made requests and de Vente and Mullen happily obliged. Thanks for bringing the sounds of comfort and joy to our patients!

 

 

Governor Larry Hogan Visits the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

“Heading to my fifth round of five-day, 24-hour chemo this morning at the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore. As always thank you to everyone for your prayers and support during this journey!

Before my treatment I took some time to visit the brand-new, world-class Drs. Rouben and Violet Jiji Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UMMS which officially opened on Tuesday. There I met families with children being treated at the NICU and listened to the stories of Baby Rebecca, Baby Ilyanna, and Baby Javion who are on the road to recovery following bouts with a range of health challenges such as infections, cardiac abnormalities, and abdominal complications. They are carefully cared for, with a balance of compassion and unparalleled clinical excellence!

The work these incredible doctors and nurses at the NICU do is amazing and they are saving lives every day! Please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers!”

-Governor Larry Hogan

Gov. Hogan NICU 1Gov. Hogan NICU 2Gov. Hogan NICU 3Gov. Hogan NICU 5Gov. Hogan NICU 6