Founding Physicians of Celiac - Aretaeus
Aerates of Cappadocia - First Known Description of Celiac Disease
Areteus lived approximately in the first or second century in Cappadocia, a province of the Roman Empire that is now modern-day Turkey. He was a prolific writer on diseases such as asthma, tetanus, pneumonia, as well as providing the names for diabetes and celiac disease.
The Greek physician belonged to the Pneumatic school of medicine, an ancient school of medicine founded in the first century in Rome, influenced greatly by the works of Plato and Aristotle. Pneumatic philosophy believed that heat, among other elements, were central to certain bodily functions.
Aretaeus believed that the group of reoccurring symptoms, like malnutrition and diarrhoea, were caused by a disease disrupted the regular stomach and digestive system. Koiliakos can be translated several ways, as the abdomen, or essentially the entire digestive system.
Description Celiac Disease
As the stomach was believed to digest food through a process of heating, an unnaturally cool stomach was thought to be the root of diarrhoea that many celiac disease patients suffer from. He noticed that this disease seemed to cease and relapse, which is common in celiac disease.
In terms of the causes of celiac disease, Aretaeus had a few theories:
- Summer and winter worsened the disease perhaps because of increase and decrease in temperatures.
- There was some other chronic disease triggering celiac disease.
- Drinking too much cold water brought on celiac disease, presumably by disrupting the natural heat of the stomach, though Aretaeus does not specify.
Among his observations, he writes that celiac disease seemed to affect more women than men and more often occurred in older people. Pavely claims that Aretaeus also prescribed to celiac disease sufferers, "drinks taken before meals, for otherwise bread is very little conductive to trim vigour", but I have not been able to confirm the quote with a primary source document (Pavely 1).
- Aretaeus, and Francis Adams. Aretaiou Kappadokou Ta Sōzomena = The Extant Works of Aretaeus, the Cappadocian. London: Sydenham Society, 1856. Print.
- "Aretaeus Of Cappadocia." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 06 Sept. 2016.
- Guandalini, Stefano, M.D. Impact 7.3 (2007): 1-4. Web. 7 Sept. 2016.\
- Paveley, W. F. “From Aretaeus to Crosby: A History of Coeliac Disease.” BMJ : British Medical Journal 297.6664 (1988): 1646–1649. Print.