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March 15, 2022 - Hepatology Communications

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Co-lead author Dr. Theresia Schnurr (left) and co-author
Dr. Johanne Justesen.

New research from Stanford Bio-X affiliated faculty members Joshua Knowles, Euan Ashley, and Aijaz Ahmed, with Stanford Bio-X/Novo Nordisk Foundation Visiting Scholars Theresia Schnurr and Johanne Justesen, investigates genetic predisposition and unhealthy lifestyle, known risk factors for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), to determine whether the genetic risk is modified by physical activity, muscular fitness, and/or adiposity.

The team examined cross-sectional interactions and joint associations of physical activity, muscular fitness, body mass index (BMI), and a genetic risk score (GRS). Genetic predisposition to NAFLD was quantified using a GRS consisting of 68 loci known to be associated with NAFLD. Physical activity was assessed using accelerometry, and muscular fitness was estimated by measuring handgrip strength. The researchers found that, in individuals with high genetic predisposition for NAFLD, maintaining a normal body weight and increased physical activity may reduce the risk of NAFLD.

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