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MedPage Today: Nwosu explains link between type 2 diabetes in children and liver disease

UMass Medical School Communications

August 03, 2016
  Benjamin Nwosu, MD

Benjamin Nwosu, MD

A new study showing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in children is associated with abnormal glucose metabolism is more evidence that a large percentage of patients with type 2 diabetes also have NAFLD, Benjamin Nwosu, MD, told MedPage Today in an Aug. 2 story.

“Lifestyle modification should be intensified in overweight/obese children and adolescents to prevent the development of obesity-related comorbidities such as prediabetes, T2D, hypertension, NAFLD and NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, the more severe form of NAFLD),” said Dr. Nwosu, associate professor of pediatrics, who was not involved with the research, in the Aug. 2 story.

The study, by researchers at the University of California San Diego and published in JAMA Pediatrics, reported that about 25 percent of children with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease—the most common cause of pediatric chronic liver failure—were found to have prediabetes, while 6.5 percent had type 2 diabetes. Those with type 2 diabetes had a more than threefold increased risk for developing NASH—the more serious form of liver disease—than children with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and normal glucose levels.

Nwosu pointed out that all the study subjects were overweight or obese.

“The finding of increased occurrence of prediabetes or T2D in the obese patients with NAFLD, though impressive, still represents an investigation in the comorbidities of adiposity,” he told MedPage Today. “It would be interesting if such a finding were reported in normal-weight children and adolescents.”

Nwosu’s research focus is on diabetes mellitus, obesity, growth hormone and vitamin D physiology. He is currently the principal investigator on a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of the effect of adjunctive vitamin D on liver fat in patients with type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.