Title: A Fatty World: Exploring Racial Disparity in NAFLD/NASH
Background: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are metabolic disorders that affect the liver. A world crisis is unfolding as the number of people with NAFLD/NASH is substantially increasing. Chronic liver disease is now estimated to be the leading cause for liver transplant. Studies have shown that NAFLD/NASH is often more pronounced in certain ethnic populations, particularly Asian and Hispanic communities. An explanation for this increased incidence may be associated with intrinsic ethnic factors and/or genetic polymorphism (variants in a particular DNA sequence). Further, the etiology of NAFLD/NASH is also linked to obesity, diabetes, and other risk factors which are highly pronounced in racial communities. Unfortunately, there currently is no NAFLD/NASH-specific medication on the market to treat these diseases. New drug development and ongoing research is necessary to treat and cure NAFLD/NASH, with particular attention given to engage high-risk populations. Importantly, the discovery of new treatments may be beneficial with ongoing support and collaboration between the research community and ethnic groups.
Conclusion: For NAFLD/NASH clinical studies, participation of Asians and Hispanics is vital and may be important in drug development programs for successful and targeted treatment.
Sharon H Jaycox
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