Friday, December 26, 2008

Creating tie-ins to expand awareness

Here's a great article on Alek Komarnitsky’s Christmas lights that increased awareness for Celiac. The thing that I really like is that Christmas lights don't have anything to do with food or medical or support groups. It opens up a whole new avenue for awareness by tying in the awareness message to a topic with broader appeal.

The Christmas season also brings up Christmas cards. Because Celiac is genetic, and many people on Christmas card lists are related, I think that Celiac news should make the list. It doesn't have to be too obvious, but saying things like, "We visited this vacation spot because of the great gluten-free options" can signal to family members that they might want to look into Celiac, too.

Awareness in N. Texas/Newsweek

It's always great to see awareness activities make it into the media. Here's a good article about James McConnell, 11, who was interviewed by Newsweek. I think it shows a good example of how national exposure can result in a knock-on awareness activity locally.

Celiac screening should be considered for IBS sufferers

The medical world changes oh too slowly for those who are suffering from Celiac, but it does change. The American College of Gastroenterology has released new guidelines for IBS sufferers, part of which includes ruling out Celiac disease. Of course, readers of this blog would have known that in April 2007, but it's nice to see the docs catching up.

The relevant guidelines are quoted here:
    --  IBS patients with diarrhea or a mixture of diarrhea and constipation
should be screened with blood tests for celiac disease, a condition in
which one cannot tolerate the gluten protein found in wheat and other

GF Search Engine - needs work

I heard about a new Gluten free search engine here. I appreciate the effort, but the site needs work. For starters, the site is not just a search engine, it also has a store, which sends a mixed message about the impartiality of the results. Parts of the site do not work with the Firefox browser. Finally, after I entered "awareness" as a search term, the first ad served by Google was NOT for gluten-free products.

It's pretty apparent that the site is simply using a slightly customized Google search. Anyone using Google themselves can likely replicate the results from the search engine. The value in the search engine would be in creating a "search first" list for the celiac-specific and GF specific sites. It's not clear that the results delivered by the search are any better than plain Google results as yet.

The site could be made better by getting rid of the Google served ads, removing the store and making all parts work with all browsers.