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A few coffees a day keep liver disease at bay: study



Researchers in the United States have found another good reason to go to the local espresso bar: several cups of coffee a day could halt the progression of liver disease Liver Disease Definition

Liver disease is a general term for any damage that reduces the functioning of the liver.
Description

The liver is a large, solid organ located in the upper right-hand side of the abdomen.
, a study showed Wednesday.

Sufferers of chronic hepatitis Chronic hepatitis
Long lasting inflammation of the liver due to viruses or other causes.

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chronic hepatitis 
 C and advanced liver disease who drank three or more cups of coffee per day slashed their risk of the disease progressing by 53 percent compared to patients who drank no coffee, the study led by Neal Freedman of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI See Liberate. ) showed.

For the study, 766 participants enrolled in the Hepatitis C Hepatitis C Definition

Hepatitis C is a form of liver inflammation that causes primarily a long-lasting (chronic) disease. Acute (newly developed) hepatitis C is rarely observed as the early disease is generally quite mild.
 Antiviral antiviral /an·ti·vi·ral/ (-vi´ral) destroying viruses or suppressing their replication, or an agent that so acts.

an·ti·vi·ral
adj.
 Long-Term Treatment against Cirrhosis (HALT-C) trial -- all of whom had hepatitis C which had not responded to treatment with anti-viral drugs -- were asked to report how many cups of coffee they drank every day.

The patients were seen every three months during the 3.8-year study and liver biopsies were taken at 1.5 and 3.5 five years to determine the progression of liver disease.

"We observed an inverse association between coffee intake and liver disease progression," meaning patients who drank three or more cups of java were less likely to see their liver disease worsen than non-drinkers, wrote the authors of the study, which will be published in the November issue of Hepatology.

The researchers put forward several ways in which coffee intake might protect against liver disease, including by reducing the risk of type two diabetes, which has been associated with liver illness; or by reducing inflammation, which is thought to cause fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver Cirrhosis of the liver
A type of liver disease, most often caused by chronic alcohol abuse. It is characterized by scarring of the liver, which leads to an increase in the blood pressure in the portal veins.

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.

Even caffeine, the chemical that gives a cup of coffee its oomph, came under the spotlight, having been found in previous studies to inhibit liver cancer Liver Cancer Definition

Liver cancer is a relatively rare form of cancer but has a high mortality rate. Liver cancers can be classified into two types.
 in rats.

But drinking black or green tea, which also contain caffeine, had little impact on the progression of liver disease, although there were few tea drinkers in the study.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) three to four million people contract hepatitis C each year.

Seventy percent of cases become chronic and can cause cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Copyright 2009 AFP Global Edition
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Author:AFP
Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Oct 21, 2009
Words:341
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