Research, Research and more Research

I must confess to being excited by the present research that’s being carried out into alcohol addiction. I’m beginning to believe there are other factors at work here and that our body’s immune systems may hold the key to a lot our psychological problems. It has recently been discovered, that the body’s immune system may trigger a desire to drink alcohol. Researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia have found a new link between the brain's immune system and the desire to drink alcohol in the evening. * (See the link at the bottom of this page). There is also a lot of research being carried out about the link between our immune system and some causes of depression. So here could be the link or the start of the vigorous cycle. I have already spoken in these pages about the correlation between alcohol and depression. Both these conditions can go hand in glove. Depression may cause a person to want to self-medicate on alcohol in a vain attempt to lift the gloom. Alcohol, as we all know is a depressant in its self, so, a downward spiral of events will begin to emerge. If we then add the body’s immune system or a rogue gene into the mix, then we have three separate situations all contributing to the same problem. Back in May 2015, a 10-year old study revealed a startling link between high levels of anxiety and an increased risk of death from liver disease. The research, carried out by scientists at the University of Edinburgh, took account for obvious sociological and physiological factors such as alcohol consumption, obesity, diabetes and class, but still, the data pointed to a clear relationship between the psychological conditions of stress and depression and the physical health of the hepatic system. There were over 165,000 participants surveyed for mental distress. They were each tracked for over a decade during which time the causes of death for those who passed on were recorded and categorised. What was found was that those who’d scored highly for signs of depression and stress were far more likely to suffer fatal liver disease. Dr Tom Russ of the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences stated that this study provides further evidence for the important links between mind and body, and of the damaging effects, psychological distress can have on physical wellbeing. The work did not uncover any reasons for direct cause and effect but is the first to identify such a link between mental states and liver damage. Previous research has described how psychological conditions can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease which, in turn, may develop into obesity, raised blood pressure and then eventually to liver failure but, with this methodology controlling for such factors, it appears that the link is more direct than was previously thought. Dr. Julie Heimbach explains. Some time ago I posted a thread on the British Liver Trust’s HealthUnlocked site, about Liver disease research being carried out in the far east. A lot of the research of this nature is shared with other worldwide countries and institutions. This could spell the end of liver transplants in the future. The idea behind this is for the liver to regenerate dead cirrhotic liver cells. Enter the exciting world of stem cell research.

Will Liver Transplantation become a thing of the past?

Back in Aug 2010, the Daily Mail published an article, this was entitled, “Grow your own transplant liver in a lab within just 5 years”. And can be found at: Back in April 2013, the BBC produced a program entitled, “How Do Stem Cells Work? Bang Goes the Theory”. Although this program is now some 6-years old, it does offer an insight into the workings of Stem Cells.


I’ve also come across a further video which explains the stem cells debate rather well and also briefly touches on the ethical debate. Japan is also doing some fantastic research, (Yamaguchi University) and this video is frightening in that it’s rather like something out of the “Terminator II” film. I half expect to see Arnie walking into shot at any moment.
Cord blood is the blood that remains in the placenta and umbilical cord following the birth of a baby. It is rich in blood stem cells, similar to those found in bone marrow, and these can be used to treat many different cancers, immune deficiencies and genetic disorders and as can be seen even liver cirrhosis: While researching all of this I have already come across several private Cord Blood banks springing up here in the UK: Back in February 2021, Cambridge University scientists used a technique to grow bile duct organoids – often referred to as ‘mini-organs’ – in the lab and showed that these can be used to repair damaged human livers. This is the first time that the technique has been used on human organs. I would like to thank the BBC and the Cambridge University for the use of these video clips. * :
The Liver Life Project