Environmental pollution increases the risk of liver disease

May 29, 2009

A new study is the first to show that there is a previously unrecognized role for environmental pollution in liver disease in the general U.S. adult population. This work builds upon the groups' previous research demonstrating liver disease in highly-exposed chemical workers. The study is being presented during Digestive Disease Week 2009 (DDW), the largest international gathering of physicians and researchers in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery.

"Our study found that greater than one in three U.S. adults had , even after excluding those with traditional risk factors such as alcoholism and viral hepatitis," said Matthew Cave, MD, assistant professor, department of medicine, division of and at the University of Louisville. "Our study shows that some of these cases may be attributable to environmental pollution, even after adjusting for obesity, which is another major risk factor for liver disease."

Using the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers from the University of Louisville study examined chronic low-level exposure to 111 common pollutants including lead, mercury, PCBs and pesticides and their association with otherwise unexplained liver disease in adults. The specific pollutants included were detectable in 60 percent or more of the 4,500 study subjects.

Dr. Cave added that this analysis used only the ALT liver enzyme as a marker of , and cautioned that this associative study does not prove causality. However, he added that previous animal studies do suggest causality for many of these chemicals. Dr. Cave and his co-authors also plan to examine the additive effects of environmental pollutants on liver disease in children and adults with risk factors including obesity, viral hepatitis, and alcoholism in the NHANES population.

Dr. Cave will present these data, Chronic Low-Level Exposure to Toxicants Linked to Liver Disease in U.S. Adults, on Monday, June 1.

Source: American Gastroenterological Association (news : web)

Explore further: Promising new antibiotic defies conventional wisdom on treating superbug

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A Modest Glass of Wine Each Day Could Improve Liver Health

May 21, 2008

Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine are challenging conventional thinking with a study showing that modest wine consumption, defined as one glass a day, may not only be safe for the liver, but may actually decrease ...

New upper limit defined for normal ALT in adolescent males

Dec 03, 2007

A new cohort study of adolescent offenders in Australia has identified an upper limit for ALT that is more sensitive for the diagnosis of liver disease. The findings could facilitate targeted interventions for the youths ...

Recommended for you

5 things to know about Ebola outbreak in W. Africa

9 hours ago

(AP)—There has been panic and fear about the deadly Ebola disease spreading ever since Nigerian health officials reported Friday that a Liberian man sick with the disease had traveled to Togo and then Nigeria ...

Scissoring the lipids

10 hours ago

A new strategy which enables molecules to be disconnected essentially anywhere, even remote from functionality, is described by researchers from the University of Bristol in Nature Chemistry today. The method is now being ...

User comments : 0