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Non-heavy alcohol use associated with liver fibrosis: Study

ANI | Updated: Dec 08, 2022 22:28 IST

Washington [US], December 8 (ANI): According to a new study, non-heavy alcohol use are at risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
The study was published in the journal, 'Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology'.
While evidence suggests that the pattern of alcohol consumption may be an important predictor of its health effects, alcohol research frequently focuses on average daily or weekly alcohol consumption, possibly obscuring differences in drinking patterns such as drinking frequency, the usual quantity of alcohol consumed and binge drinking behaviour.

Now, researchers from Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine show that non-heavy alcohol use is associated with fibrosis (thickening and scarring of connective tissue) and at-risk nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). They also found that several alcohol use patterns and measures, including total weekly alcohol consumption, were associated with clinically significant fibrosis and at-risk NASH among non-heavy alcohol users.
"Our results reinforce the importance of encouraging all patients to reduce alcohol intake as much as possible and to at least adhere to current U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommended limits," said corresponding author Michelle T. Long MD, MSc, associate professor of medicine.
More than 2,600 participants from the Framingham Heart Study were administered a clinician-directed questionnaire regarding their alcohol use and offered a vibration-controlled transient elastography (VCTE) to measure their liver for excessive connective tissue build-up. Not only did the researchers find that non-heavy alcohol use was associated with fibrosis and NASH, but also that multiple alcohol use patterns were responsible for this.
According to the researchers, these findings have significant implications for counselling patients with and without pre-existing NAFLD, especially as the current American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases guidelines do not make any recommendations regarding non-heavy alcohol use in NAFLD. "In addition, our finding that multiple alcohol use patterns associated with increased fibrosis and/or at-risk NASH merits further investigation into the importance of how patients use alcohol beyond simply quantifying the total amount of consumption," adds Long, a physician at Boston Medical Center. (ANI)