In 1888, celiac disease was first identified as a wasting condition associated with malabsorption. Dr. Samuel Gee of the United Kingdom’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children documented cases of the disease in children, and aptly made a recommendation that diet would be a cure for the condition.
Later, in 1953, William Dicke, a pediatrician from Holland, made the first association between celiac disease and wheat. He found there was an association between the protein found in wheat and the intestinal damage resulting from the ingestion of the protein. Dicke is credited with making the wheatprotein and celiac disease connection. But aside from these modern accounts of the disease, historical records reveal that humans have experienced digestive problems since 250 A.D.
The Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia studied individuals with a mysterious “suffering of the bowels,” and referred to those afflicted as koiliakos. And from where does the word “celiac” originate? Centuries later, Francis Adams studied these accounts of Aretaeus and then coined those with the condition as “celiac,” from the Latin version (coeliacus) of the Greek koiliakos.
Source: Celiac Sprue Association, A Brief History of Celiac Disease