• What is the Best Treatment for Severe Alcoholic Hepatitis?

What is the Best Treatment for Severe Alcoholic Hepatitis?

Corticosteroids, alone or in combination with pentoxifylline or N-acetylcysteine (NAC), reduce short-term mortality in patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis, a meta-analysis shows in the October issue of Gastroenterology. However, there is no treatment to reduce medium-term mortality, the authors find. Severe alcoholic hepatitis is characterized by progressive inflammatory injury to hepatocytes and

Read more
  • What Controls Liver Size?

What Controls Liver Size?

Most people know that liver can regenerate, but how does it know when to stop growing? Liver size is, in part, regulated by the size of the circulating bile acid pool, controlled by fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19), researchers show in the September issue of Gastroenterology. The mammalian liver can

Read more
  • Can we Reduce Muscle Cramps in Patients with Cirrhosis?

Can we Reduce Muscle Cramps in Patients with Cirrhosis?

L-carnitine appears to be safe and effective for reducing muscle cramps in patients with cirrhosis, researchers report in the August issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Many patients with cirrhosis develop frequent muscle cramps, which reduce their quality of life. L-carnitine (L-beta-hydroxy-gamma-N-trimethyl aminobutyric acid) is an amino acid that transports

Read more
  • Video: Efficacy of Obeticholic Acid in Patients With Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

Video: Efficacy of Obeticholic Acid in Patients With Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

Obeticholic acid significantly reduces biochemical features of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) in patients with an inadequate response to ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) therapy, Gideon M. Hirschfield et al report in the April issue of Gastroenterology. Hirschfield discusses the details of the study and its findings in a video abstract: PBC is a progressive, autoimmune

Read more

Genetic Analysis of Icelandic Population Provides Disease Insights

Scientists in Iceland have performed an unprecedentated genetic analysis of an entire nation, associating previously undiscovered mutations with disorders such as liver disease and gallstones. In 4 articles published last week in Nature Genetics, researchers at DeCODE, an Icelandic genetics firm owned by Amgen, described sequencing the genomes of 2636

Read more
  • An Effective and Long-lasting Hepatitis E Vaccine

An Effective and Long-lasting Hepatitis E Vaccine

A long-term study of a hepatitis E virus (HEV) vaccine showed that it is 86.8% effective and that immunity can last for up to 4.5 years. In a blinded, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial, Jun Zhang et al randomly assigned 112,604 healthy adults in Dongtai (in the Jiangsu province of China)

Read more
  • Author Q and A Series: Alcohol, the Microbiota, and Liver Disease

Author Q and A Series: Alcohol, the Microbiota, and Liver Disease

Chronic alcohol consumption disrupts the intestinal microbiota to reduce production of saturated long-chain fatty acids and subsequently the proportion and functions of hepatoprotective lactobacilli, Peng Chen et al report in the January issue of Gastroenterology. Dietary approaches to restore levels of saturated fatty acids in the intestine might therefore reduce ethanol-induced liver injury in patients with

Read more
  • Probiotics for Cirrhosis?

Probiotics for Cirrhosis?

A probiotic solution significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization for hepatic encephalopathy and markers of liver disease severity in patients with cirrhosis, researchers report in the December issue of Gastroenterology. Hepatic encephalopathy develops in 50%–70% of patients with cirrhosis; fewer than 50% of these patients survive for 1 year. Rifaximin and

Read more
  • Can Exercise Help Patients with Cirrhosis?

Can Exercise Help Patients with Cirrhosis?

Eight weeks of aerobic exercise training increased peak oxygen uptake by muscle and muscle mass, and reduced fatigue, in patients with cirrhosis, researchers report in the November issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Cirrhosis is characterized not only by hepatic fibrosis and progressive liver dysfunction, but also reduced exercise tolerance, based on decreased peak exercise

Read more
  • Does Coffee Affect Development of Cholestatic Liver Disorders?

Does Coffee Affect Development of Cholestatic Liver Disorders?

Lower levels of coffee consumption are associated with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), but not primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), researchers report in the September issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Coffee is considered to be a medically beneficial beverage—consumption has been associated with reductions in metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and weight

Read more