Our Sugar Addiction is Slowly Killing Us

I have a friend who once lost a whole bunch of weight by removing two simple things from his diet. Cheese and soda. This was well before the current Paleo diet craze, when sugary drink taxes weren’t even whispered in the most progressive of city councils. It was also well before I knew anything about the liver or the difference between sucrose and fructose in the sugar I consumed. His story always stuck with me, though I never realized why it had worked.

Ever since the untimely death of my mother from NASH, I have spent a lot of time learning about the underlying causes that likely led to her liver failure. Along the way, I had to reexamine a number of misconceptions and prejudicies I’ve had about health and eating. Whether from genetics or pure luck, I’ve been blessed all my life with never having to worry about weight or what I eat. I never put a lot of thought about what I was putting inside my body until i started to read research about how obesity and metabolic syndrome developed, and why we were suddenly facing a worsening crisis over the last 50 years.

What I’ve found has changed my entire view on food & health.

Continue reading “Our Sugar Addiction is Slowly Killing Us”

The link between Gallbladder Disease and NASH

When my mom passed away at 62 years old six weeks after being diagnosed with a disease I’d never heard of before, it sent me searching for answers. NASH is still widely unknown and the etiology is not well understood. Yes, it is largely linked to obesity, but there are many other risk factors that seem to be playing a role. One such factor that I discovered last year was the link between hypothyroidism and NASH, which my mom had for decades.

Recently I have been working on some projects on how the liver works, and found myself intrigued when writing about the function of the gallbladder. For those that are unaware, its main function is storing bile to be used in the digestion of fats. As I wrote about it, alarm bells began ringing in my head. NASH is the end stage of fatty liver disease, caused by an excess buildup of fat in the liver.

Gallbladder surgery (known as cholecystectomy) is one of the most common surgical procedures in the world, with over 600,000 procedures performed annually in the USA. It is considered completely safe with no long-term negative effects. My mom had her gallbladder removed years ago after suffering gallstones, as is the standard medically recommended procedure. I wondered if there was any studies on possible links between it and NASH, and began searching.

The answer is a resounding yes. Not only is there a strong correlation between gallbladder disease and NASH in several studies, but there is an even stronger independent link between cholecystectomy and NAFLD/NASH.

Continue reading “The link between Gallbladder Disease and NASH”

2019: The Year of NASH

2018 was a big year for those trying to raise awareness of NASH, as well as those developing treatments and diagnostic methods. The first International NASH Day was held, a day of action with events in over a dozen cities on four continents.

2019 is already looking to be a major year for progress in the fight against NASH. Recently, Goldman Sachs declared that 2019 will be “The Year of NASH” based on the fact that several BioTech companies are expected to release late-stage trial results of promising treatments.

Continue reading “2019: The Year of NASH”

Support the ALF Honors Gala tonight!

Tonight I’m attending the ALF Honors Gala in my capacity as a Board Member and the chair of the Associate Board for the Greater New York Division. The Gala is an annual fundraiser that honors influential professionals, physicians, and business leaders in our community.

It also just happens to be Giving Tuesday! Here are some ways you can show your support:

Bid on one of our GNY Honors Gala auction items. With over 70 items to choose from, there is something for everyone! Click here to view all items.

Make a donation to one of our honorees – Did you know that Dr. Ayşe Aytaman is the first FEMALE to receive the Physician of the Year Award?

Show your support today!

Have TWO friends? Chances are, one of you has a Fatty Liver.

This headline sounds like hysteria, but the sobering reality is that nearly a third of the population of the USA has NAFLD.  This is just one of the many facts presented on this outstanding NASH brochure.  I love the simplicity of the Q&A nature of this factoid, and have been speaking with the author, Tony Villiotti.

Tony is a NASH transplant survivor and the founder of the NASH Education Corporation, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit focusing on increasing awareness and providing educational materials for NASH.  I’ve been wanting to write about patients living with NASH for quite some time and Tony was generous enough to agree to an interview for a profile piece, the first ever on NASH AWARE.

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One of Tony’s goals is to get this brochure placed in health care locations, health fairs, and other places where it can reach a wide audience.

Continue reading “Have TWO friends? Chances are, one of you has a Fatty Liver.”

Modest alcohol consumption may REDUCE mortality in patients with NAFLD

A new study from New York Presbyterian Hospital has some eyebrow-raising findings.  We already know that drinking coffee is good for the liver, but you would expect to find less evidence of a positive relationship with alcohol.  Yes, there have been plenty of studies that show a glass of wine can be good for you, but never one that highlighted an actual positive link.

This study goes even further and finds that moderate drinking can actually lead to a reduced mortality risk in patients with NAFLD.  Wut??? Continue reading “Modest alcohol consumption may REDUCE mortality in patients with NAFLD”

A Star in the Sky: Coping with the sudden loss of a loved one

My mother passed away suddenly four years ago this month after a short battle with late-stage NASH.  Which is impossible, but somehow true.  Just a few days before being diagnosed with NASH she was celebrating with my wife and I at a housewarming party at the Shore.  A picture of her from that party occupies a prominent place on our fridge; the last picture of her before our lives were all changed forever.

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Mom just a few days before she fell into a coma as a result of liver failure.

Continue reading “A Star in the Sky: Coping with the sudden loss of a loved one”