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Researchers study treatment for childhood liver disease

Category: Liver Diseases

Liver disease was once completely confined to adult population. However, with childhood obesity rates rising, many young people now receive unhealthy liver panel test results. A new study being support by the National Institutes of Health is currently seeking to determine how best to treat the condition.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition related to obesity in which deposits of fat in the liver scar the organ and diminish its functioning. While doctors have learned how to treat the condition in adults, less is known about its effect in children.

Researchers are currently testing the effectiveness of a drug called cysteamine in 160 children between the ages of 6 and 17 who suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Previous smaller studies have shown that this drug may reduce toxins that damage the liver.

Given the potential for serious health problems associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the researchers said it is imperative to find effective treatments for the condition in children.

"We are concerned that the disease may advance as children become adults and increase their risk for cirrhosis, liver failure, liver transplantation, and death as adults," said Stephen P. James, director of the Digestive Disease and Nutrition Division at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.ADNFCR-2248-ID-800687384-ADNFCR

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