Impact of race on hepatitis treatment, transmission of hepatitis from mother to infant, and missed diagnoses of liver disease described at meeting

November 06, 1999

Dallas-- The following summaries are taken from the abstracts of the more than 1,000 papers presented at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) 1999 Annual Meeting in Dallas, November 5-9.

Impact of Race on Response to Antiviral Therapy in Chronic Hepatitis C Patients

In the largest study of African-American patients looked at to date, John G. McHutchison, M.D., Scripps Clinic, found that African-American patients with chronic hepatitis C infection had a lower sustained response to antiviral therapy than Caucasians. Although they did not respond to interferon monotherapy, McHutchison said that 20 percent of the African-Americans did have a sustained response if treated with two drugs in combination--interferon and ribavirin. McHutchison suggests that these findings indicate inherent host differences among racial groups to anti-viral therapy and urges that more work needs to be done to explain these results.

Timing Important in Diagnosis of Perinatal Hepatitis C Transmission

In a study that examined the maternal risk factors for perinatal hepatitis C (HCV) transmission, Eric E. Mast, M.D., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that anti-HCV testing in infants whose mothers were HCV-infected may not be reliable until the infant is two years of age. Maternal factors associated with an increased risk for HCV transmission in a statistical analysis include prolonged membrane rupture for more than six hours and internal fetal monitoring devices. Factors not associated with transmission include mode of delivery and breastfeeding. If duration of membrane rupture and invasive fetal monitoring are confirmed to be associated with perinatal HCV transmission, interventions may be possible to decrease the risk of transmission.

Deletion of ALT Removes Important Screening Tool for Liver Disease

When the Federal Government's Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), which runs Medicare, recently mandated the deletion of ALT testing (alanine aminotransferase, ALT) from the routine serum comprehensive panel, it deleted an important screening tool for liver disease, said Fred K. Askari, M.D., University of Michigan Medical Center. Stopping liver disease screening placed our nations elderly at particular risk for suffering from undetected liver disease. Since many insurance companies follow HCFA's policies, millions of younger Americans may also have undetected liver disease as a result of the government's action. Arguing that the diagnostic yield of an elevated ALT is quite good, Askari estimates that with the ALT test, about 280 new cases of liver disease in the University of Michigan healthcare network could be discovered each year, for a total cost of $12,500 for the 70,000 comprehensive panels processed annually. This is a cost of less than $50 per case of liver disease discovered. Askari concludes, "The ALT testing should be restored to the comprehensive panel without delay."
-end-
AASLD is the leading medical organization for advancing the science and practice of hepatology. Founded by physicians in 1950, AASLD's vision is to prevent and cure liver disease. Today, AASLD provides representation and education for nearly 2,400 liver researchers, physicians, and surgeons worldwide.

K-M Communications

Related Liver Disease Articles from Brightsurf:

Fatty liver disease despite a normal weight
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba found significant differences in the clinical presentation of non-obese patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) based on their sex and body mass index.

Sobering reminder about liver disease
Alcohol's popularity and its central place in socialising in Australia obscures the dangers of excessive drinking and possible liver disease, Flinders University experts warn.

Giant leap in diagnosing liver disease
A collaborative team of Salk Institute and UC San Diego scientists have created a novel microbiome-based diagnostic tool that, with the accuracy of the best physicians, quickly and inexpensively identifies liver fibrosis and cirrhosis over 90 percent of the time in human patients.

Link between liver and heart disease could lead to new therapeutics
A newly published study of flies found that protecting liver function also preserves heart health.

Fatty liver disease is underdiagnosed in the US
According to an analysis published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is grossly underdiagnosed in the United States.

Possible new treatment strategy for fatty liver disease
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified a molecular pathway that when silenced could restore the normal function of immune cells in people with fatty liver disease.

Longevity protein SIRT6 also protects against fatty liver and fatty liver disease
SIRT6 regulates fat metabolism by activating another protein called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR-alpha).

Fresh insights could lead to new treatments for liver disease
The fight against liver disease could be helped by the discovery of cells that cause liver scarring.

Better methods needed for predicting risk of liver disease
While blood samples can reliably identify people with a low risk of developing severe liver disease, better methods are needed in primary care for identifying people in most need of care.

Lab-on-a-chip may help identify new treatments for liver disease
Investigators have developed a 'lab on a chip' technology that can simulate different levels of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease progression.

Read More: Liver Disease News and Liver Disease Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.