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Coffee Drinkers Have Lower Risk of Getting Autoimmune Liver Disease

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 29 May 2013
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Regular consumption of coffee is associated with a reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an autoimmune liver disease, according to new research.

The new findings were presented May 2013 at the Digestive Disease Week 2013 Conference, held in Orlando (FL, USA). PSC is an inflammatory disease of the bile ducts that results in inflammation and subsequent fibrosis that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, biliary cancer, and liver failure.

“While rare, PSC has extremely detrimental effects,” said study author Craig Lammert, MD, a Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN, USA) gastroenterologist. “We’re always looking for ways to mitigate risk, and our first-time finding points to a novel environmental factor that also might help us to determine the cause of this and other devastating autoimmune diseases.”

The study examined a large group of US patients with PSC and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and a group of healthy patients. Data showed that coffee consumption was linked with a lower risk of PSC, but not PBC. PSC patients were much apt not to drink coffee than healthy patients were. The PSC patients also spent almost 20% less of their time routinely drinking coffee than the control group.

The study suggests PSC and PBC vary more than originally believed. Konstantinos Lazaridis, MD, a Mayo Clinic hepatologist and senior author of the study, remarked, “Moving forward, we can look at what this finding might tell us about the causes of these diseases and how to better treat them.”

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