Caffeinated Drinks Associated With Decreased Risk Of Liver Scarring

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This article is provided by the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your thoughts below…..

cupcoffeeModest daily consumption of caffeinated drinks is associated with less advanced liver scarring in people with hepatitis C, according to a recent study by Baylor College of Medicine researchers that appears online in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Dr. Hashem El-Serag, chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at Baylor and at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and lead author of the study, said the results showed that the risk of liver scarring in hepatitis C patients was decreased when individuals regularly consumed caffeinated coffee, and to a lesser extent tea and soda.

“We found that participants who drank caffeinated coffee daily had the best results,” he said. “This is most likely do to the fact that one coffee drink has more caffeine than tea or sodas.”

He said the researchers saw no benefit to patients who drank decaffeinated coffee, tea and soda.

This cross-sectional study consisted of 910 participants aged 18 to 70 years of age with confirmed hepatitis C who were not receiving antiviral therapy.

“We specifically chose to study hepatitis C patients because they are at an increased risk for hepatic fibrosis (liver scarring), and there is limited data on the effects of coffee or caffeine on the progression of scarring within this patient population,” said El-Serag, also a member of the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor.

Liver scarring can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure and liver cancer, and may require liver transplantation.

Of the participant study population, 37.6 percent of them had advanced liver scarring while 62.4 percent had milder scarring. Participants with advanced fibrosis were significantly older, more likely to have type 2 diabetes and were more likely to be overweight or obese.

“Most participants reported drinking caffeinated coffee, and about half of those drank one or more cups of coffee per day,” El-Serag said. “Patients with milder liver scarring had a higher average daily intake of caffeinated coffee compared to those with more advanced cases.”

“An estimated 100 milligrams of caffeine from coffee, tea or soda was associated with approximately one-third reduction of advanced scarring, and higher consumption didn’t produce an additional benefit,” he said.

Others who took part in this study include Natalia Khalaf, Donna White, Fasiha Kanwal, David Ramsey, Sahil Mittal, Shahriar Tavakoli-Tabasi and Jill Kuzniarek, all of Baylor.

This research was funded in part by a VA Clinical Research and Development Merit Award (H-22934, PI: El-Serag) and the National Institute of Diabetes Digestive and Kidney Diseases (R03 DK095082, PI: White). The efforts of White and El-Serag effort were supported in part by the National Institute of Diabetes Digestive and Kidney Diseases (K24 DK04-107 and K01 DK081736, respectively) and the Houston VA Health Services Research and Development Center of Excellence (HFP90-020).

Benefits of Bariatric Surgery For Liver Health

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newspaperAn article published July 27 on Medical Xpress detailed two separate studies that pointed to how weight loss had tremendous benefits for the health of a patient’s liver. The article focused on the study and prevalence of “nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a disease characterized by fat in the liver,” and how weight loss affected the remission of this disease. In the study that focused on weight loss surgery, it was shown that 85 percent of patients with NASH – which is also often referred to as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – were no longer suffering from the condition when examined one year after their weight loss surgery. According to bariatric surgeon Michael Feiz, M.D., F.A.C.S, while very few similar studies have been done tying liver health directly to weight loss surgery, others, including one mentioned by the article, do examine liver health in terms of weight loss in general. Therefore, what this study (and many others pertaining to weight loss surgery’s benefit with a variety of other health conditions) really shows is that weight loss surgery is a tremendous tool to help patients lose weight. According to Dr. Feiz, there are two distinct ways that a weight loss surgery helps a patient lose the weight and keep it off:

1. “It Limits Capacity” – What all bariatric procedures have in common, notes Dr. Feiz, is that they are designed to make people feel full with less food at each meal. The gastric band technique does this by slowing the intake of food via a band placed around the entrance to the stomach, while the gastric sleeve works by actually removing a large portion of the stomach to create a smaller stomach. Dr. Feiz notes that he prefers these newer methods over the gastric bypass procedure because they do not alter the path of digestion, and generally offer a lower rate of complications.

2. “It Limits Cravings” – Dr. Feiz always reminds his patients that one of the biggest differences between the Lap Band and the gastric sleeve procedure is that the gastric sleeve provides the patient with added hormonal benefits. He explains that, when roughly 80 percent of the stomach is removed with the sleeve gastrectomy, the part of the stomach largely responsible for emitting much of the hunger hormone, known as ghrelin, is also removed. This means that, after the surgery, far less of this hormone reaches the brain every time the stomach is empty, significantly reducing cravings.

Dr. Feiz & Associates have helped countless patients send a variety of serious medical conditions into remission by losing weight with weight loss surgery. Any obese patients curious about weight loss surgery can call Dr. Feiz & Associates today at 310-855-8058 or visit the medical office online at http://www.DrFeiz.com today.

Study Links Fatty Liver And Heart Failure In Obese People

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newsFatty liver is independently associated with subclinical heart failure in obese people, according to a new study published online, January 26, in the journal Radiology. The findings add more support to the importance of dietary interventions in such patients, researchers said.

Fatty liver is independently associated with subclinical heart failure in obese people, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology. The findings add more support to the importance of dietary interventions in such patients, researchers said.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), also known as hepatic steatosis, is the most common liver disease, with a prevalence of up to 30 percent in the general population and between 70 percent and 90 percent among persons who are obese or have type 2 diabetes. NAFLD is considered as a manifestation of the metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors like high blood pressure, excess abdominal fat and unhealthy cholesterol levels that raise the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other health problems.

“One of the unique aspects of our study is that we took all of the individual components of the metabolic syndrome into account as possible confounders in this association, as the metabolic syndrome is associated with NAFLD and with cardiovascular disease,” said study lead author Ralph L. Widya, M.D., from the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, the Netherlands.

For the study, Dr. Widya and colleagues used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy to noninvasively measure hepatic triglyceride content, a measure of fat in the liver, and cardiac MRI to assess left ventricular diastolic function in 714 men and women aged 45 to 65 years. Of the 714 patients, 47 percent were categorized as overweight, and 13 percent were classified as obese.

The left ventricle is the heart’s main pumping chamber, and diastolic function refers to the phase of the heartbeat when the heart relaxes to fill with blood. Abnormalities of diastolic function, represented by inefficient filling of the heart, play a major role in exercise intolerance in patients presenting with heart failure. Diastolic dysfunction has been clinically undervalued and is currently gaining major attention by cardiologists and general physicians, according to senior author Hildo J. Lamb, M.D., Ph.D., also from Leiden University Medical Center.

Results indicated that an increase in hepatic triglyceride content was associated with a decrease in mean left ventricular diastolic function in the obese subgroup of the study population. The association between hepatic triglyceride content and left ventricular diastolic function existed independently of the metabolic syndrome, suggesting that fatty liver itself could, at least in obese people, pose a risk of heart dysfunction above and beyond known cardiovascular risk factors that are clustered within the metabolic syndrome.

“Our results may be of importance in cardiovascular risk stratification in obesity, because there is a large variation in the degree of hepatic steatosis in obesity,” Dr. Widya said. “Also, more emphasis should be put on dietary interventions to reduce or prevent hepatic steatosis.”

The reasons for the link between fatty liver and heart function are unknown, Dr. Widya said, but could be related to several factors, including the presence of infection-fighting white bloods cells called macrophages or increased expression in the liver of small proteins known as cytokines.

Future research is required to study the effect of NAFLD on cardiovascular events, according to Drs. Widya and Lamb, and further study is needed to investigate to what extent the association exists and differs among normal weight, overweight and obese persons.

Georgia State Research Paves Way For Early Detection Of Liver Cancer

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doctorLed by Georgia State University, researchers have developed the first robust and noninvasive detection of early stage liver cancer and liver metastases, in addition to other liver diseases, such as cirrhosis and liver fibrosis.

Their findings were published Wednesday (May 13) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More than 700,000 people are diagnosed with liver cancer each year. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, accounting for more than 600,000 deaths annually, according to the American Cancer Society. The rate of liver cancer in the U.S. has sharply increased because of several factors, including chronic alcohol abuse, obesity and insulin resistance.

“Liver cancers associated with high mortality rates and poor treatment responses are often diagnosed in the late stages because there is not a reliable way to detect primary liver cancer and metastasis at a size smaller than one centimeter,” said Jenny Yang, lead author on the paper, Distinguished University Professor and associate director of the Center for Diagnostics and Therapeutics at Georgia State.

The liver is a common site for a variety of cancers, including melanoma, breast, pancreatic and colon cancers. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the leading imaging technique to detect disease without using radiation. MRI contrast or imaging agents aid MRI techniques to obtain tissue-specific images.

As reported by Yang, the applications of MRI contrast agents are not effective for early detection of cancerous tumors because they are hampered by uncontrolled blood circulation time, low relaxation rate or sensitivity, and low specificity. Most contrast agents, she said, are rapidly excreted from the liver, not allowing sufficient time to obtain quality imaging.

To more effectively detect cancerous tumors at an early stage, researchers from Georgia State, in collaboration with researchers from Emory University, Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia and the University of Virginia, have developed a new class of protein-based contrast agents (PRCAs) and an imaging methodology that provides robust results for the early detection of liver cancer and other liver diseases.

ProCA32, the researchers’ newly developed contrast agent, allows for imaging liver tumors that measure less than 0.25 millimeters. The agent is more than 40 times more sensitive than today’s commonly used and clinically approved agents used to detect tumors in the liver.

ProCA32 widens the MRI detection window and is found to be essential for obtaining high-resolution quality images of the liver. This application has important medical implications for imaging various liver diseases, the origin of cancer metastasis, monitoring cancer treatment and guiding therapeutic interventions, such as drug delivery.

“Our new agents can obtain both positive and negative contrast images within one application, providing double the accuracy and confidence of locating cancerous tumors,” Yang said. “These agents are also expected to be much safer with reduced metal toxicity.”

The researchers have shown proof-of-concept that ProCA32 can be used to detect cancerous liver tumors at an early stage with high sensitivity. They have also demonstrated that these new agents better aid the imaging of multiple organs, including the kidney and blood vessels, in addition to the liver and tumors.

“ProCA32 may have far-reaching implications in the diagnosis of other malignancies, which in turn would facilitate development of targeted treatment along with effective monitoring of reduction of tumor burden,” Yang said. “Our agent and methodology can also be applied to study the brain and monitor treatment outcomes in a number of disorders, including stroke and recovery after stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, brain tumors and gliomas.”

The research is supported by the National Institutes of Health.