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Study: Fat in liver may predict disease

Category: General Health

Fat that builds up in a person's stomach area may not be the best indication of an increased risk for certain diseases, according to a new study.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that body fat in the belly may not be a risk factor for conditions like diabetes and heart disease, but fat in the liver might be.

The study found that when fat collects in the liver, some people may experience serious metabolic problems such as insulin resistance as well as an increased production of fat particles in that organ.

Traditionally, scientists and doctors and linked the fat inside a person's belly, known as visceral fat, to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. However, this study suggests those experts should look elsewhere.

"Visceral fat tracks closely with liver fat," said Dr Samuel Klein, senior investigator in the study. "We have found that excess fat in the liver, not visceral fat, is a key marker of metabolic dysfunction. Visceral fat might simply be an innocent bystander that is associated with liver fat."

People who have too much liver fat suffer from a condition known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Some doctors say the condition can be reversed if a person restricts their calorie intake for at least two days.ADNFCR-2248-ID-19333484-ADNFCR

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