The European Liver Patients Association (ELPA) organized a virtual NASH Symposium on June 10, 2021.
This Symposium that is just the culmination of a series of actions promoted during the entire #FattyLiverMonth, besides the scientific approach of the disease by eminent speakers, also allowed NASH patients to share with ELPA their own testimony of how they deal with this life-threatening disease.
After Mr Marko Korenjak, ELPA President had welcomed everybody, two Members of the European Parliament from the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Loucas Fourlas, Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), and Mr George Georgiou, Left group in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL, greeted the participants. Then, Mr Marco Greco, President of the European Patients’ Forum (EPF), welcomed attendees stressing the importance of patient’ associations in the fight against this disease.
Before getting into the most scientific part of the Symposium, Mrs Yianoulla Koulla, President of Cyprus Liver Patients’ Association and Leader of ELPA NAFLD / NASH Working Group, introduced a short video by Mr Constantinous Ioannou, Minister of Health of Cyprus. After his greetings, she quickly presented the ELPA NAFLD / NASH Working Group, its people, and activities.
The scientific part of the Symposium was opened by Dr Teresa Casanovas, Leader of the ELPA Scientific Committee and ELPA Director. She introduced the first speaker, Prof Dr Henning Groenbaek, from the department of Hepatology & Gastroenterology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark. He gave an overlook of the treatment of NAFLD from lifestyle intervention to bariatric surgery. After him, the floor was given to Prof Dr Gamal Shiha, G.I & liver unit, Mansoura University – Egypt, Association of Liver Patients Care (ALPC), the Egyptian Liver Research Institute and Hospital (ELRIAH), Egypt. Prof Dr Shiha brought to the audience’s attention the crucial topic of the name’s changing from NAFLD to MAFLD. He also underlined the advantages from the point of view of patients and hepatologists. Dr Ramon Bataller, hepatologist, researcher, alcohol risks specialist, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Medicine, Pittsburgh, US, contributed to the Symposium releasing to ELPA an interview where Dr Casanovas explored with him Chronic Liver Disease related to alcohol. From the discussion emerged how the particular risks on patients suffering from liver steatosis are higher, and they have a faster progression of their liver disease. The conclusion was that patients need more information about it. This session continued with Dr Panayiota Protopapa, clinical Lead and specialist Paediatrician Paediatric Liver, GI and Nutrition Centre Archbishop Makarios III Hospital and King’s College Hospital, Republic of Cyprus. She gave a talk on a particular and underestimated topic: the diagnosis and treatment of paediatric NAFLD. Then, Dr Gonzalo Crespo, transplant hepatologist, Liver Unit, Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, IDIBAPS and CIBERehd, Spain, gave an update on liver transplants for NASH with or without HCC. He also presented some particular challenges in this population in 2021. The scientific session was concluded by Prof Dr Shira Zelber-Sagi, Associate Professor Head of School of Public Health, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, University of Haifa, The Tel-Aviv Medical Center, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Israel. She shared with the audience a presentation on the nutritional treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
From nutrition, the Symposium moved to the importance of an active lifestyle. Ms Veronika Všetíčková, physiotherapist, and healthy lifestyle coach, share some tricks and tips on how to introduce physical exercise in our daily life.
Before ELPA President’s closing remarks, participants could hear from two patients: Mrs Petra Saarinen and Mr Milan Mishkovikj, telling about their journey with the disease.