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Daily drinking poses biggest threat to liver

London, March 21 (IANS) Daily drinking, rather than binge drinking, poses the biggest threat to the liver, according to a new study.

University of Southampton researchers attributed increases in liver-related deaths to daily or near daily heavy drinking, not episodic or binge drinking, a pattern discernable at an early age.

In the study of alcohol dependency of 234 people with liver disease – 106 had alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) and 80 of them had evidence of cirrhosis or progressive fibrosis – the team found that 71 percent of ALD patients drank on a daily basis.

Conversely, patients with other forms of liver disease tended to drink sparingly with only 10 people (eight percent) drinking moderately on four or more days each week.

The study also explored lifetime drinking histories of 105 people and found that ALD patients started drinking at a significantly younger age (15 years) than other subjects and had significantly more drinking days and units than non-ALD patients from the age of 20 onwards, said a Southampton release.

Senior lecturer and consultant hepatologist Nick Sheron at Southamption, who led the study, said, “If we are to turn the tide of liver deaths. . . which means tackling cheap booze and unregulated marketing – we need to find a way to identify those people who are most likely to develop alcohol-related illnesses at a much earlier stage.”

These findings were published in Addiction.