Lay Summaries - Volume 4 Issue 6

Lay Summary:  Many people with cirrhosis have anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. Increasingly, patients with cirrhosis are treated with sedating medications called benzodiazepines, including valium, alprazolam (‘Xanax’), clonopin, and the sleep-aid zolpidem (‘Ambien’), which can cause falls, broken bones, and maybe other brain disorders. For this reason, many researchers are interested in trials of ‘deprescribing’ (stopping) benzodiazepines. However, no trials have been performed. We used health record data to simulate a trial of deprescribing. We found that stopping benzodiazepines may reduce the chance of falls or broken bones, but it does not improve survival or liver health.
Lay Summary:  After hepatitis C virus (HCV) cure, not all patients achieve significant liver fibrosis regression. Herein, we studied the effects of clinical and socio-behavioral factors on the risk of severe liver fibrosis. Coffee consumption was strongly inversely associated with severe fibrosis, while diabetes, previous and current unhealthy alcohol use were associated with a 4.3-, 3.6- and 4.6-fold higher risk of severe fibrosis, respectively. Unemployment and low educational level were also associated with a higher risk of severe fibrosis. All these associations remained valid after HCV cure. These results demonstrate the need to continue liver fibrosis monitoring in at-risk groups, and to facilitate healthier lifestyles after HCV cure as a clinical and public health priority.
Lay Summary:  By using transjugular biopsies obtained from patients at different stages of chronic liver disease, we unveil the molecular pathogenic mechanisms implicated in the progression of chronic liver disease to cirrhosis and acute-on-chronic liver failure. The most relevant finding in this study is that patients with acute-on-chronic liver failure present a specific hepatic gene expression pattern distinct from that of patients at earlier disease stages. This gene expression pattern is mostly related to inflammation, fibrosis, angiogenesis, and senescence and apoptosis pathways in the liver.
Lay Summary:  There is a mutation in the gene SERPINA1 called Pi∗MZ which increases risk of liver scarring (cirrhosis); however, it is not known what effect Pi∗MZ has if someone already has cirrhosis. In this study, we found that people who had cirrhosis and Pi∗MZ developed complications from cirrhosis faster than those who did not have the mutation.