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"Heavy binge drinking by those who habitually consume alcohol is the most common cause of liver damage in chronic alcoholic liver disease," said Shivendra Shukla, Ph.D., the Margaret Proctor Mulligan Professor of medical pharmacology and physiology at the MU School of Medicine and lead author of the study. "We know that this behavior causes large fatty deposits in the liver that ultimately impair the organ's ability to function properly. However, we wanted to understand the mechanism that causes this damage and the extent of the harm. Our research focused on different forms of alcohol abuse and the results of those behaviors."

Shukla's team studied mice to examine the extent of liver injury caused by chronic alcohol use, repeat binge episodes and a combination of both. During a four-week period, the team found that mice exposed to chronic alcohol use and repeated binge consumption exhibited the highest levels of liver damage.

"Either chronic alcohol use or acute repeat binge episodes caused moderate liver damage when compared to the control group not exposed to alcohol," Shukla said. "This outcome came as no surprise. However, in the mice exposed to both chronic use and repeat binge episodes, liver damage increased tremendously. Even more shocking was the extent of fatty deposits in the livers of those exposed to chronic plus binge alcohol. It was approximately 13 times higher than the control group."

Read More: Sciencedaily

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