Liver Shorts August 2019

JB Talcott et al. JPGN 2019; 69: 145-51.  This small study showed an association with prolonged cholestastic liver disease in children and poorest cognitive outcomes despite successful transplantation.  There were 28 participating children in this study, only 12 with chronic liver disease. Acute liver disease was not associated with deficits in cognitive function.  This study “reinforces the need for timely intervention.”

AA Butt et al. Gastroenterol 2019; 156: 987-96.  This study which used a Veterans database for chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection (n=242,680) found that treatment with direct-acting antiviral therapy (hazard ratio 0.57) was associated with a significant decrease in risk of cardiovascular disease events.

F DiPaola et al JPGN 2019; 69: 152-59.  This study from the drug induced liver injury (DILI) network (2004-2017) with just 57 cases found that antimicrobials (51%) and antiepileptics (21%) were the leading causes of DILI in children. Related blog: Liver toxicity –Where to Look Online

P Huelin et al. Hepatology 2019; 70: 319-33. This study with 320 consecutive cases of acute kidney injury (AKI) in patients hospitalized for cirrhosis found that urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) (best at day 3) helped differentiate acute tubular necrosis from other types of AKI.

Is Cognition Affected by Obesity/Metabolic Disease?

A recent provocative study : “Childhood Metabolic Biomarkers Are Associated with Performance on Cognitive Tasks in Young Children” ALB Shapiro et al. J Pediatr 2019; 211: 92-7

Methods: Data were obtained from children (n=137, 4.6 years old on average) participating in the Healthy Start study, a pre-birth cohort in Colorado. This included metabolic markers (HOMA-IR, glucose, insulin) and cognitive performance markers (Flanker task, Dimensional Change Card Sort test (which assesses cognitive flexibility), and Picture Vocabulary test).

Key findings:

  • HOMA-IR, glucose, and insulin were all inversely significantly-associated with cognitive flexibility testing. Thus, the authors found that “greater blood biomarkers of poor metabolic health are related to lower cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control in healthy, young children.”


  • The authors note that their findings “contribute to the large body of literature in children with overt type 1 and type 2 diabetes that demonstrates consistent and negative effects of poor metabolic health on cognition.”
  • The metabolic effects on cognition may be more critical in childhood due to brain maturation as well as potential for longer exposure periods.  However, studies from adults indicate that “adults without overt diabetes, the cumulative burden of metabolic conditions (eg. obesity, hyperglycemia) was significantly associated with lower cognitive scores.”

My take: While the effects of metabolic disease on cardiovascular disease is well-recognized, this study adds to the body of knowledge that indicates the potential harm of metabolic disease on the brain as well.

Near Chattahoochee River

Nutrition Week (Day 5) What a Gastrostomy Tube Means for Cognition

Looking at a retrospective cohort of 194 neonates, a recent study (SR Jadcherla et al. J Pediatr 2017; 181: 125-30) showed that infants discharged with a gastrostomy tube (Gtube) had associated lower cognitive outcomes.

The authors examined discharge milestones along with Bayley Scales of Infant Development (3rd edition) at 18-24 months of age.

Key findings:

  • 60% of infants (n=117) were discharged on oral feedings and 96% remained oral-fed at 1 year.
  • 40% (n=77) were discharged on gastrostomy feedings.31 (40%) remained fully Gtube dependent, 17 (22%) were orally-fed, and 29 (38%) were on oral/gtube combination.
  • Gtube feedings at discharge were a marker for lower cognition (P<0.01), communication (P=0.03) and motor (P<0.01) composite scores at 18-24 months of age.
  • Other factors associated with neurodevelopmental delay included intraventricular hemorrhage, younger gestational age, and bronchopulmonary dysplasia.

My take: This study provides evidence for an expected finding –infants who need gtubes have poorer neurodevelopmental outcomes than infants who do not need gtubes.

Related blog posts:

Thanks to an Olive Oyl fan for this picture

Thanks to an Olive Oyl fan for this picture