He studied medicine in Leiden specialized in pediatrics.
When Dicke began practicing medicine, celiac disease was commonly referred to as ‘Gee-Herter’ disease, and the two main treatments were rest and an altered diet
British physician Samuel Gee in 1888 wrote of celiac disease, ‘if the patient can be cured at all it must be means of diet.’
During World War II, In Netherlands when the wheat flour was scarce, Dicke notice something unusual about his pediatric patents: they were dying a lot less often.
He attributed this to a shortage of bread. He was convinced that removing wheat from his patient’s diet was essential for improving their condition.
When the war ended and bread supplies returned children died at the same pace as they had before.
Since Willem Karel Dicke was the first to draw a connection between wheat and celiac disease, he is credited as being the pioneer of the gluten-free diet.
Dr. Willem Karel Dicke – researcher of celiac disease (1905 – 1962)