Goss receives $ 3 million NIH grant for familial dietary intervention to treat fatty liver disease in adolescents – News


With the increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease has become the most common cause of liver disease in children and adolescents in industrialized countries.

With the increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease has become the most common cause of liver disease in children and adolescents in industrialized countries.Amy Goss, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Alabama in the Department of Nutritional Sciences in Birmingham, received a R01 $ 3 million grant to implement a family diet intervention to treat steatosis hepatic and obesity in adolescents.

With the increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease has become the most common cause of liver disease in children and adolescents in industrialized countries. For children and adolescents aged 2 to 19, the prevalence of obesity has reached 17% and affects nearly 13 million children in the United States.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease refers to a spectrum of liver disease ranging from simple fatty infiltration to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, fibrosis and cirrhosis.

Amy Goss, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Birmingham Amy Goss, Ph.D.
(Photo by: Katherine Mullen)
It has been reported that approximately 20% of patients with NASH will progress to cirrhosis and liver failure. However, patients with NAFLD universally have hepatic insulin resistance, which puts them at high risk for developing glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes.

Since no pharmacotherapy exists to directly deplete hepatic fat infiltration, dietary intervention is currently the standard treatment for improving fatty liver disease in children and adolescents. Dietary guidelines for the treatment of pediatric NAFLD are nonspecific and generally recommend avoiding calorie dense foods.

“Our pilot study in 23 adolescents with NAFLD suggests that a weight-maintenance, low glycemic index, moderately carbohydrate-restricted diet significantly improved fatty liver disease and hepatic insulin sensitivity,” said Goss.

The grant will help fund a randomized controlled trial to examine the effects of a weight-maintenance diet, moderately carbohydrate-restricted compared to a low-fat diet on changes in liver fat content. The effects will be evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy after a controlled feeding phase of 12 weeks and a free life phase of 12 weeks in adolescents with NAFLD. Groceries will be provided to families for 12 weeks.

“The results of this study will further our understanding of the impact of diet quality on liver fat reduction in the absence of weight loss in pediatric NAFLD,” said Goss. “We will also examine the mechanisms to determine whether reducing liver fat in children may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes in the future.”

Funding for this grant is provided by the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.


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