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Approved research

Designing a Screening Program for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in the Primary Care Population

Principal Investigator: Dr Scott McHenry
Approved Research ID: 50689
Approval date: October 23rd 2019

Lay summary

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is the liver-complication of obesity. It is the fastest growing cause of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. It is also strongly associated with heart disease and diabetes mellitus, where a fatty liver often can be found years before those conditions are present. If a fatty liver can be reversed by diet, exercise or medications, it is likely that we can prevent these complications. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as imaging everybody since these tests (CAT scans, ultrasounds) are not very good at picking up subtle degrees of liver fat that still predispose to these conditions. We have developed a risk-score based on routinely obtained blood work for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease to identify patients at an early stage before they develop complications such as diabetes mellitus or liver cirrhosis. Before this can be used in primary care clinics, we must confirm that it is predictive in more than one country, which is why we wish to validate the score in the UK biobank.