Today I had the opportunity to find out whether or not I had Celiac disease.
I've explained Celiac disease before here, but just to remind you, it is an autoimmune disease against the body's gluten-digesting enzyme. People with Celiac disease MUST avoid all wheat products (all wheat (including whole wheat), barley, rye, spelt, kamut, couscous, and more).
Everyone in my Clinical Nutrition class (all ~130 of us) was given a test kit. The kit contained a lancet (aka a small spring-action needle), alcohol swab, a band-aid, a test strip (it looked like a pregnancy tester!), and other medical supplies, like little test tubes and fancy chemicals. The process involved many steps, but in short: I pricked my finger, put a drop of blood in chemical solution, dropped that solution onto a test strip, and then waited ten minutes. If you are positive (meaning you have Celiac disease) you would have seen TWO red lines on the test strip. The test checks to see if you have anti-transglutaminase enzymes (if you have these in your blood, you are Celiac because you should not have antibodies against this enzyme).
As you can see from my test strip above (bad photo as it was taken with my cell phone), I DO NOT have Celiac disease because I only have one line. Phew!
It was a fun experiment for everyone in one room to be taking this lab test at one time. Out of ~130 people, no one tested positive. However, about ~30 people identified as having a sensitivity to gluten. Thankfully these people are just gluten intolerant/sensitive and don't have an autoimmune disease!
Other pictures from the experiment: the test package and my "wounded" finger (with the lancet in the background).