Fatty Liver Disease Can Affect Brain Health: Study

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Last Updated: December 27, 2022, 19:26 IST

A new study has established a direct link between fatty liver and its adverse effect on the brain (Representative Image: Shutterstock)

A new study has established a direct link between fatty liver and its adverse effect on the brain

A new study has established a direct link between fatty liver and its adverse effect on the brain. The study was conducted by a team of scientists at the Roger Williams Institute of Hepatology in association with King’s College London and the University of Lausanne. The goal of the experiment was to study the link between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and brain disorders caused by the fat accumulated in the liver. To conduct the experiment, the researchers fed two groups of mice with different diets.

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One consumed only 10% fat while the other group’s intake was measured at 50% such that it resembled a diet full of sugary drinks and processed food. 16 weeks into the study, the scientist conducted a series of tests on the group of mice to study the effect of the diet on their brain. It was reportedly found that all mice with more fat intake turned out to be obese and developed NAFLD and brain dysfunction. This was caused due to the decrease of oxygen to the brain that resulted in inflammation of brain tissue. In addition to this, the mice with high fat intake also developed symptoms of depression and anxiety.

In comparison, with the group consuming a healthy diet, those mice did not develop NAFLD and behaved normally with a healthy brain. Thus, this experiment, which was conducted in collaboration with the French National Institut of Health and Medical Research and the University of Poitiers is believed to be the first-ever study to clearly link NAFLD and its relation with brain deterioration. Notably, the study in question was sponsored jointly by the University of Lausanne and Foundation for Liver Research.

Dr. Anna Hadjihambi, who is reportedly the lead author of the study, called the result concerning the deterioration of the brain often begins mildly and it can exist silently for several years before showing its effect on people. Hadjihambi, who is also the sub-team lead in the Liver-Brain Axis group at the Roger Williams Institute of Hepatology stated that the new discovery emphasizes cutting down the number of fats and sugar that will not only tackle obesity but also protect, “the liver to maintain brain health and minimize the risk of developing conditions like depression and dementia during aging when our brain becomes even more fragile.”

It is important to note that NAFLD affects approximately 25% of the population and the number rises dangerously up to 80% in morbidly obese people.

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