Community Health

Funding level: $50,000 to $100,000


The Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) is excited about the opportunity to obtain a state of the art mobile application (app) to support those with gluten related disorders. Track Your Celiac - a mobile app (TYC) will be an integral part of the CCA membership package and will support members and the communities that our members volunteer in. The app will be available for Apple and Android mobile users.

We are requesting $100K in funding from the Aviva Community Fund to enhance and customize a current mobile health application to meet the specific needs of those with Celiac Disease (CD), non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and anyone adversely affected by gluten. The project will develop a private branded version of an evidence-based tool (“MyHealthyGut” app ) for the CCA. The app will be developed, hosted, and managed by WholeLife HealthTech Inc. on behalf of the CCA.

The app's need was determined by research done at the U of C by Dr. Justine Dowd in 2016. 90.7% of participants stated there was a need for an app. It will improve diagnosis of CD (15% in Canada today) and reduce diagnosis time (average of 12 years).

The app will help diagnosis and management by providing (a) a detailed food log and comprehensive celiac symptomatology e-journal that can be shared with a healthcare provider; (b) searchable safe food database checker, (c) meal planning functions; 7-day meal plans GF; (d) tips for cooking for people with celiac disease; (e) evidence-based supplements that promote gastrointestinal health; and (f) a list of the 100 most common GF food options; (g) foods to avoid.

Data collected from users can be aggregated, protecting privacy, to provide input to research studies to find a cure, and improve diagnosis and treatment.

This app is based on scientific need. CD is a systemic autoimmune condition, precipitated by gluten, a protein in wheat, rye and barley, in genetically predisposed individuals. CD flattens the villi in the small intestine that absorb nutrients necessary for good health. Nutrient deficiency can result in a host of other diseases: osteoporosis, thyroid issues, arthritis, and dental issues to name only a few. There are over 300 symptoms of CD or none. Diagnosis is a conundrum!

1% of the population have CD (40% are genetically predisposed). There is no cure for CD and the only treatment is strict GF diet for life. Gluten is found everywhere so going GF is a real challenge. Unfortunately, treatment does not fully heal the small intestine in 30% of children and 50% of adults. Lack of compliance to the GF diet is an issue that TYC app will improve.

NCGS is a disease diagnosed by ruling out CD. Patients have similar symptoms to those with CD. A UK and Italian study indicated respectively 13% and 1% of the population have NCGS. Most articles quote 6%. Treatment for NCGS is also a GF diet. Diet meal plans and safe foods are included in the TYC app.

An estimate of .37M and 2.22M people have CD and NCGS respectively in Canada. 2.59M people are directly impacted. Family, friends, co-workers and servers are also impacted as every crumb, bite and mouthful of food has the potential to be cross-contaminated with gluten. It only takes a crumb the size of 1/20th of an M&M to cause damage to the small intestine and start the autoimmune response that causes inflammation.

The cost to the healthcare system and the individual is huge. Dr. Guandalini showed CD related costs of the undiagnosed were 6X higher than diagnosed. Diagnose and get $2.3B in savings over 5 years based on the incremental costs Dr. Guandalini calculated to treat each undiagnosed celiac. Dr. Leffler's study on treatment burden of CD showed CD treatment burden to be higher than reflux, hypertension and end stage renal failure.

Canadian Health Infoway state 2/3 of Canadians track their health with a mobile app. The TYC app will help the CCA meet its mission to "Find. Treat. Cure."

Broker supported

Canadian Celiac Association

Location: Canada

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