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How to manage Chinese obese children with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?

Short-term lifestyle intervention is more effective than short-term vitamin E capsule therapy on NAFLD and so it should be the first step in the management of children with NAFLD.

This study, performed by a team led by Professor Li Liang, is described in a research article to be published on March 14, 2008, in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.

NAFLD is likely to reach epidemic proportions in children worldwide in this decade. NAFLD is recognized as a cause of potentially progressive liver damage and may be the hepatic aspect of the metabolic syndrome.

Multiple therapeutic agents such as vitamin E, -carotene, metformin, PPAR-gamma agonists, and the lipase inhibitor orlistat have been demonstrated to be useful in NAFLD in a small series of cases. Lifestyle intervention (dietary restriction and exercise) has also resulted in improved liver function in patients with NAFLD. Conflicting data on the therapeutic efficacy of the above-mentioned drugs have been reported in the literature.

In the view of the authors, short-term lifestyle intervention and short-term vitamin E capsule therapy has an effect on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in obese children. Since lifestyle intervention was found to be more effective, it should be the first step in the management of children with NAFLD.

The results of this study are not surprising, since the relation between activity, diet and fatty liver disease is well known. In spite of that, it is still of interest because the therapeutic intervention is limited to one month and the adherence to the program is quite rigorous. This experiment may provide insight into the short-term modification of some indexes of NAFLD that likely precede the improvement of fatty liver disease.

Using an elegant study design, this research was performed by physicians from the Children's Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, China, and from the Nuote Nutrient Centre, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, China.


Contact: Jing Zhu
World Journal of Gastroenterology

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