New Developments in Liver Cirrhosis Research
The liver is a large organ that sits in the right upper abdomen, just under the right lung. It is one of the body's most "intelligent" organs in that it performs so many different functions at the same time. The liver makes proteins, eliminates waste material from the body, produces cholesterol, stores and releases glucose energy and metabolises many drugs used in medicine. It also produces bile that flows through bile ducts into the intestine where it helps to digest food. This organ also has the ability to regenerate itself if it is injured or partially removed. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver that involves the formation of fibrous (scar) tissue associated with the destruction of the normal architecture of the organ. Many types of chronic injury to the liver can result in scar tissue. This scarring distorts the normal structure and re-growth of liver cells. The flow of blood through the liver from the intestine is blocked and the work done by the liver, such as processing drugs or producing proteins, is hindered. Until recently, the most common cause of cirrhosis of the liver in the United States was attributed to alcohol abuse. Because of the rapid increase of hepatitis C virus infection, hepatitis C has now taken over first place (26%), with alcohol abuse falling to second place, but only slightly behind at 21%. This outstanding book elucidates new and important research results from throughout the world.
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