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New Research on Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver

Prof. Henry Chan (right) and Prof. Vincent Wong

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease worldwide. It is associated with metabolic diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and obesity. From 2008 to 2010, the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics of the Faculty of Medicine randomly selected 922 subjects to measure their liver fat and fibrosis. Among them, 658 subjects did not have fatty liver disease. After 3 years, 565 of those without fatty liver disease were invited to take the tests again. The result indicated that 76 out of 565 participants developed new NAFLD. Therefore, it is suggested that incidence of NAFLD in Hong Kong is 13.5% over three to five years.

Prof. Henry Chan, head of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, explained, 'According to the research data, it is estimated that the annual incidence of NAFLD in Hong Kong is around 3–4%. In another term, there are over 100,000 new cases annually.'

Prof. Vincent Wong at the same division urged high risk subjects to undergo fatty liver scanning every three to five years to monitor liver health. These include people who are overweight, who have increased waist circumference, women over 40 years old, as well as patients with metabolic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia.

The findings have been published in the January 2015 issue of Journal of Hepatology.

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What I like about Taoism is that it focuses on two important aspects of life—the body and the mind. This distinguishes it from other religions where some might focus on the body, while others might focus more on the mind. Karine Martin