Junk food causes liver damage in kids

Research by Italian Liver Foundation (FIF) in Plos One journal

(ANSA) - Trieste, August 1 - Research by the Italian Liver Foundation (FIF) at the Trieste AREA Science Park published in the scientific journal Plos One shows that a junk food and high sugar diets can lead to metabolic syndrome and damage to children's livers, which are not able to dispose of the excess fats.
    "Considering that childhood obesity is skyrocketing also here, and that liver damage due to metabolic syndrome will become the main cause for transplants in coming years, the (research) model will be an excellent platform for studying the mechanisms that cause damage, understanding the male/female differences, and testing medications and new diagnostic approaches," said FIF Director Professor Claudio Tiribelli, one of the study's authors.
    The study was based on research conducted by FIF on rats, which developed a model that reproduces the onset of childhood metabolic syndrome and its implications on the liver, which resulted in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
    The FIF researchers concluded that the disease progresses more rapidly in childhood (and in the male rats, more rapidly in the initial phase when compared to females) and the prognosis is worse in pediatric patients compared to adults.
    The rats were fed a high-fat and high-sugar diet for sixteen weeks, beginning at the human equivalent of three years old and continuing until the human equivalent of age 30, in which 100% developed steatohepatitis at four weeks.


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