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Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease – The Essentials

University of Copenhagen via Coursera


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Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is a global problem, affecting up to 25% of all individuals. The disease not only increases the risk of liver disease, but also of cardiovascular disease and liver cancer. During this course, you will learn the essentials of NAFLD. We will begin with an introduction to the physiology of the human liver followed by epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical medicine, and genetics. Diagnosing NAFLD based on blood tests, diagnostic imaging and histology will be discussed. Complications and treatment options will also be covered in this course including the link between NAFLD and the development of diabetes. Finally, experts will discuss data driven identification of new biomarkers by omics technologies. After completing this course, you will have a broad knowledge about NAFLD ranging from the aetiology and pathophysiology to bedside examinations and treatments.


  • The Liver - Physiology and Disease
    • The liver contributes to overall body homeostasis through several biochemical processes and without these functions we cannot maintain life. In the first lectures, Professor Jens Juul Holst will discuss the physiology of the human liver focusing on biochemical concepts as gluconeogenesis, glycogenolysis, lipid and amino acid metabolism. The videos will also cover how external hormonal systems such as pancreatic islets regulate liver metabolism. After completing module 1 you will have a broad and basic understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of the liver. In the subsequent modules, we will build on top of module 1 by exploring fatty liver disease.
  • Causes
    • What causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease? This is the core question of module 2. We will kickstart this module by reviewing epidemiological data on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by professor Peter Jepsen. In the second half, professor Bente Kiens will dig into which nutrients that may drive fat infiltration of the liver. The diversity in the risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and NASH will be discussed from a genetic approach by doctor Stefan Stender.
  • Pathophysiological aspects
    • Professor Henning Grønbæk will commence module 3 with an overview of the multiple hit hypothesis followed by Hendrik Vilstrup who will describe how the liver function is affected in patients with NAFLD.
  • Diagnostics
    • Professors Flemming Bendtsen and Lise Lotte Gluud will discuss how to diagnose non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with or without fibrosis by non-invasive tests and describe when additional tests including histological assessment is required. Professor Mogens Vyberg will take us into the world of liver diagnostic by zooming in on the histological traits of liver tissue from patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The module will be concluded by perspectives on how ‘omics’ technologies such as protemics may contribute to identification of novel biomarkers in a lecture by Associate Professor Nicolai J. Wewer Albrechtsen and an interview with Professor Matthias Mann.
  • Treatment
    • Exercise is an important tool to improve the health of your liver. How exercise affect your liver will be introduced by Professor Bente Klarlund Pedersen and Associate Professor Nicolai J. Wewer Albrechtsen. Personal Trainer Samantha Mølgaard will give a practical guide on how to ‘exercise to improve your liver’. The evidence concerning the pharmacological treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is growing rapidly. Professor Guruprasad Aithal will introduce us to the current evidence and provide an insight into future drugs developed specifically for the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Complications and Perspective
    • In the final module, Professor Henning Grønbæk will discuss the close relation between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, why it is important to screen individuals with type 2 diabetes for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Professor Jonel Trebicka will discuss the management of patients who have developed cirrhosis due to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Finally, Professor Lise lotte Gluud and Associate Professor Nicolai J. Wewer Albrechtsen will revisit some general aspects of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and discuss its future aspects.

Taught by

Nicolai Jacob Wewer Albrechtsen and Lise Lotte Gluud


4.8 rating at Coursera based on 110 ratings

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