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New upper limit defined for normal ALT in adolescent males
Date:12/3/2007

l BMI, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure; and did not have hepatitis B or C infection, or high alcohol consumption. The researchers determined that the upper limit of normal was 28 IU/L for ALT; 32 IU/L for AST; and 29 IU/L for GGT. These are significantly lower than current upper limits for these tests which usually range from 45-55 IU/L.

Applying these cutoffs to all participants, they found that 17 percent had raised ALT, and compared to those with normal ALT, there was a strong association for overweight or obesity, the authors report. To prevent further hepatic damage and to minimize cardiovascular and diabetes risk, targeted interventions in adolescents at the earliest stages of metabolic dysfunction are a particularly high priority.

The new upper limits also detected 80 percent of the HCV-infected patients, who were significantly more likely to have injected drugs in the last 12 months. A one-year follow-up blood test of 81 of the original participants showed additional incidents of HCV antibodies, suggesting a new infection rate of at least 3.7 percent per year.

The results indicate a concerning level of HCV exposure among this population. Hence, greater education regarding blood borne viruses, risk factors for transmission and implementing harm minimization strategies in this population is crucial, the authors write. They also suggest routine hepatitis B vaccination.

In conclusion, they write, this study has provided a wealth of clinical and health related data relevant to adolescents. The new definition of normal adolescent ALT allows greater sensitivity in diagnosing early liver disease. By identifying those with hepatitis B, C and obesity related liver disease; targeted interventions can and should be implemented to minimize future health-related morbidity.


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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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