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”

Viking Therapeutics delivers promising results in NALFD trial

It’s another promising result from one of the dozens of bio-pharmaceutical companies trying to find treatments for fatty liver disease.  Viking Therapeutics announced results from an early study of NAFLD patients that exceeded expectations yesterday, sending the stock soaring 122%.

trial Continue reading “Viking Therapeutics delivers promising results in NALFD trial”

The devastating effect of NASH on young kids

Earlier this year I wrote about the sobering fact that up to 10% of children in the USA are estimated to be living with NAFLD, with nearly a quarter of them having progressed to NASH.  It’s bad enough that millions of children are having to face this disease so early in life but the evidence is actually getting worse for pre-teen children, as research has shown that fatty liver disease progression through NASH to fibrosis and eventual liver failure is significantly accelerated versus the teen or adult population.

nafld-affects-children Continue reading “The devastating effect of NASH on young kids”

The most effective treatment for serious NASH – Surgery

Ever since my Mom passed away suddenly after being diagnosed with late-stage NASH, I’ve been following the efforts of the medical community and many bio-pharma companies to develop effective treatments for the disease.  Mostly, I’ve followed the efforts to develop medicine that can slow or reverse the effects of NASH, as there is a lot of attention being paid to this and some recent successful trials.

I recently attended an event with a distinguished panel of liver experts and one of the discussion points that surprised me was how effective weight-loss surgery is at treating NASH.  I shouldn’t have been surprised, I suppose, because I already knew that losing a small amount of weight can lead to big improvements in NASH patients.  Surgery just seemed “extreme” to me, but in fact it is by far the most effective way to achieve sustained weight loss, and has even been called one of the most effective interventions in all of health care. Continue reading “The most effective treatment for serious NASH – Surgery”

The missed opportunities of the “Body Positivity” movement

Let’s get something out of the way up front.  Dealing with weight issues is an incredibly emotional and sensitive subject, and as a society we should not focus on shaming, shunning, or victimizing the nearly half of the country that is overweight or obese.  By creating a societal image of beauty and attractiveness that ostracizes over a hundred million people in the USA alone, we have done ourselves a terrible disservice.

At the same time, we cannot ignore the medical realities that are strongly correlated to being overweight.  The amount of diseases and medical conditions with direct causal relationships to weight are staggering, and the evidence is strong and tested.  NASH is emerging as perhaps the single largest affliction in terms of both prevalence and incidence, with estimates of over 30 million people currently living in the US with the disease, and the vast majority of them unaware that they have it until it is too late. Continue reading “The missed opportunities of the “Body Positivity” movement”

Dazed and Confused – when severe NASH leads to Hepatic Encephalopathy

NASH is undoubtedly a complex disease, with a wide spectrum of progression and diagnosis.  The good news is that if you intervene early you can stop and even reverse the serious liver damage that NASH causes.  The bad news is that if it goes undetected it can cause sudden liver failure and death. Continue reading “Dazed and Confused – when severe NASH leads to Hepatic Encephalopathy”