Dr. Paulo Oliveira talked about NAFLD disease, its significance, and activities that will be undertaken in the Project FOIE GRAS to prevent and suppress this disease. Dr. Oliveira framed Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) as a disease of the 21st century, originated by the consumption of diets rich in fat and sugar such as fast food; and also due to the lack of exercise. This sedentary lifestyle results in an accumulation of fat in the liver, which usually makes use of this fat to produce energy for himself and the organism in general. Nonetheless, with an excess of fat, the liver cells, hepatocytes, can no longer cope and fail to fulfill their tasks. Eventually the liver parenchyma undergoes a process of inflammation, which can result in fibrosis and ultimately cirrhosis.
He carried on explaining the FOIE GRAS project and its four main domains of research:
DIAGNOSIS: Research on biomarkers and on the cellular processes, with a particular focus on inflammation, that underlie the progression of NAFLD from its early stages to cirrhosis. This research aims to identify biomarkers able to define the phases of the natural course of NAFLD, with the ultimate goal to develop a more effective and non-invasive diagnosis protocol of the disease.
INFLAMMATION: Research on the molecular processes that are triggered by the fat deposition in the liver and how these processes change the structure of the cells and the tissue of the liver compromising the parenchyma’s functionality.
TREATMENT: Research on new therapeutic approaches for NAFDL, such as the most effective physical exercise for NAFLD patients or the testing of several healthy diets. Besides the prevention of the disease, there is also research on new drugs and on how to optimize the protocols and the quality of life of patients in late stages where a liver transplantation is required.
COMMUNICATION: Research on how to properly deliver the knowledge obtained in the different endeavors of the FOIE GRAS project to the general public in a way that is attractive and long-lasting.
The interview ended by highlighting the intersectionality and multidisciplinary character of the FOIE GRAS project, involving not only universities and research centers, but also private institutions and several industries and policy makers.
More information here.