Research Project: Dietary patterns in Irish patients with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD):
a cross-sectional study.  In collaboration with University of Surrey, University of Leeds, Glenville Nutrition, and St. James’s Hospital.

Nov 2016 – Dec 2017


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of liver disease in the developed world and is associated with obesity and increased intakes of sugar and saturated fat.  This condition is currently under-researched and under-diagnosed despite the rise of obesity in Ireland.

NAFLD is caused by fat accumulation in the liver.  This is characterised into simple fat accumulation or the more serious NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis) which involves inflammation, cell damage and fibrosis.  1 in 4 people with NASH will progress towards serious, and possibly fatal, liver disease within the next ten years.

The only treatment for NAFLD is dietary intervention focusing on weight loss, fat loss and a reduction in saturated fat and sugar in the diet.  The aim of this study is to characterise the dietary intakes of people diagnosed with NAFLD in Ireland with a view to making recommendations for dietary changes.

Research Project: a non-invasive bio-clinical tool for the identification of obesity-related fatty liver disease.
In collaboration with St James’s Hospital, Trinity College Dublin, and St Columcille’s Hospital.

July 2017 – July 2018


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease in western countries and is the number one cause of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. 20-30% of patients with NAFLD develop non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis (NASH), the more severe form of the condition resulting from fat-related hepatic inflammation. NASH patients are at a significantly increased risk of developing cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.

The aim of this study is to develop a novel, non-invasive bio-clinical tool based on specific metabolic and immune markers to identify patients at risk of developing NASH and associated complications. The utility of the tool will be tested following two 12-week Defined Interventions (dietary and exercise programs). Changes in the bio-clinical tool will be correlated with histological changes in NASH staging, weight loss and cardio-metabolic fitness observed during and after the defined intervention. Findings from this pilot study will facilitate future research funding into the inflammatory-mediated mechanisms that lead to obesity-related liver disease.