A new treatment which seeks to prevent the development of cirrhosis could soon be a reality if the discovery by scientists at the Institute of Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Barcelona is anything to go by. The study’s results appear in the journal Gastroenterology.
Cirrhosis is a chronic lesion whose primary symptom is the accumulation of scar tissue known as fibrous nodules. The nodules change the standard structure and functioning of the liver.
The build-up of the scar tissue further interferes with blood circulation in the liver, which then leads to portal hypertension. Collateral blood vessels develop outside the liver to ease pressure in the veins an action that causes two problems.
First off, the liver receives less blood, leading to more significant damage to the organ. Secondly, the quality of blood vessels gradually reduces, a condition referred to as pathological angiogenesis.
Now, a team of researchers led by Raúl Méndez, ICREA research professor at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), and Mercedes Fernández, at IDIBAPS in Barcelona have discovered a treatment that may inhibit the activities of the CPEB4 protein associated with the development of abnormal blood vessels in cirrhosis.
Méndez notes that the best thing about the study is that the team can demonstrate you can hamper the development of pathological blood vessels by interfering with CPEB4 proteins while positive vascularization remains intact.
Méndez and his team carried out tests in cells in vitro, animal models and samples taken from patients diagnosed with cirrhosis. The results of the tests showed when the molecular mechanisms that interfere with the activities of CPEB4 protein are active the intensity of cirrhosis gets reduced, and the healing process starts.
Méndez further explains that as the liver tries to repair the generation of nodules, the levels of CPEB4 increase, leading to the formation of liver carcinomas. The result is that cirrhosis becomes harder to treat cirrhosis.
In the wake of the discovery, the Spanish Association against Cancer (Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer) has awarded Méndez and Fernández more than two million euros to help them find out the role of CPEB4 in the development of liver carcinomas. They want to find a real treatment. Liver carcinoma increases the risk of cancer of the liver and the third cause of cancer-related deaths across the globe.
Méndez notes that with more financial support, it won’t be long before we get a comprehensive treatment for cirrhosis.
Sleep is a Big Part of the Equation Though
As Méndez remains hopeful to find a cirrhosis cure, he is quick to admit that rest still plays an integral role in reducing the intensity of symptoms. It is essential to note that fatigue and lack of sleep are common problems for people diagnosed with cirrhosis. Méndez recommends the following tips to improve the quality of sleep.
Optimize your Bedroom Environment
This is where it all starts. You must set up your bedroom in a way that allows you to fall asleep fast. In other words, the environment should be one to admire so that you can trigger your brain and body to relax.
On top of that, you should reduce external light and noise. Arrange the furniture systematically too. Don’t forget to regulate the temperature. Keep in mind that repeated studies show that you’ll increase your chances of falling asleep if you diminish light and reduce the level of noise in your bedroom.
Take a Melatonin Supplement
For starters, melatonin is a critical hormone that tells your brain it is time to relax and go to bed. In essence, this implies that taking melatonin supplements can help you sleep. In fact, some quarters say melatonin provides one of the easiest ways to fall asleep.
In a separate study, it became apparent that taking up to 2mg of melatonin before going to bed not only improves the quality of sleep but also increases energy levels the following day.
You may require a prescription of melatonin in some countries so be sure to check with your doctor before purchasing the supplement. Start with a low dose to gauge your body’s reaction then keep increasing it slowly. Don’t take more the prescribed dose to avoid severe side effects.
The Bottom Line
While there is no cure for liver cirrhosis, you can improve the quality of your life significantly by living a healthy life. Even as Méndez and his team continue to work on possible treatment, it is essential that you take good care of your body to enable you to maintain high energy levels.
Also, quit drinking alcohol and smoking. Plus, alcohol harms your sleep hormones. More than that, it can increase the risk of sleep apnea, irregular sleep patterns, and snoring. Eat early enough to avoid sleep hormone interruption.