by Iswarya on  March 19, 2020 at 3:32 PM Research News
Renaming NAFLD Brings Hope for Patients with Fatty Liver Disease
New study has highlighted the need to redefine non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) into Metabolic Associated Fatty Liver Disease (MAFLD). The new terminology will better reflect its causes and improve public health initiatives.The findings of the study are published in the journal Gastroenterology.

Over time, MAFLD can lead to complications, including cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer, and heart health issues. The consensus panel found that both the term 'NAFLD' and its diagnostic criteria must be updated in order to better reflect our current understanding of the disease.

Associate Professor Mohammed Eslam, the co-lead author of the paper, said, "Since it was first described in 1980, we haven't revisited the appropriateness of the name, or the criteria used to diagnose fatty liver disease.

"By updating terminology and definitions, we can shift towards more precise and personalized treatment pathways, trial design, and drug development."

Professor Jacob George, the co-lead author of the paper, said, "Initially, the disease was defined as fatty liver in the absence of significant alcohol intake. This definition was problematic and has resulted in a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to treatment, despite the significant variation we see in people affected by the disease.

"This may be one of the reasons why we see relatively low response rates in our current trials.

"The proposed name and definition recognizes that the disease we are looking at is associated with metabolic dysfunction. It also acknowledges that there are multiple overlapping causes and drivers of the disease."

Researchers are now conducting further studies to characterize the different sub-types and causes of MAFLD to help design new clinical trials and best practices for patient management.

"Ultimately, we hope that by strengthening the diagnostic criteria and language surrounding MAFLD, we can help reduce the progression of the disease, and reduce the number of people affected worldwide," Professor George concluded.

Source: Eurekalert

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