It is important that we become better at understanding who develops severe fatty liver disease with scarring of the liver, and why. Obesity increases the risk of fatty liver disease, but it is difficult to check for fatty liver disease related to overweight with the scanning and blood sample methods currently available. This is in part because the methods are imprecise, and in part because they are difficult to apply on severely obese patients with very large abdominal circumference and subcutaneous fat. Therefore, the researchers in the field have set out to find or develop new methods to investigate the level of damage on the liver caused by fatty liver disease. ATLAS researchers Associate Professor Kim Ravnskjær, Associate Professor Maja Thiele, Assistant Professor Mette Munk Lauridsen, and PhD fellow Charlotte Wilhelmina Wernberg have recently published a review on the subject in Journal of Clinical Medicine.
The review first covers the current methods used today in the clinic and among general practitioners, and highlights their pros and cons. Our researchers show that even the best diagnostic tests used today often fails when it comes to predicting which patients with fatty liver will develop inflammation and subsequent scarring of the liver. It is therefore difficult to predict who is at risk for developing liver cirrhosis, and at becoming severely ill from their liver disease. Thus, our researchers have gazed into the crystal ball, and in the remaining part of the review, they go over how new promising methods in genomics, metabolomics, and especially single cell sequencing may be the key to improved diagnostic tests and a better understanding of what happens during scarring of the liver.
The review is online with Open Access