Friday, April 5, 2024

Introducing a random mobile-tech lifestyle program for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease individuals


Are you one of the millions of people diagnosed with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)? If so, you are not alone. A recent study conducted in Michigan aimed to assess the impact of a lifestyle intervention on patients with NAFLD. Let’s dive into the details of this study to understand the patient population, data collection methods, lifestyle intervention, outcomes of interest, and statistical analysis.

## Patient Population

The study enrolled 70 adult patients with a diagnosis of NAFLD from a hepatology outpatient clinic in Ann Arbor, Michigan between April 2019 and March 2020. To be eligible, participants had to meet specific criteria including having imaging or liver biopsy confirming hepatic steatosis within a certain timeframe, no significant weight loss, and no other chronic liver diseases or alcohol use disorder. Patients with severe medical conditions or prior liver transplant were excluded from the study. Participants were required to be able to participate in a walking program and follow a Mediterranean or low carbohydrate diet.

## Data Collection

At enrollment, participants underwent a series of assessments including demographics, medical history, physical function tests, liver imaging, and various surveys related to physical activity, dietary habits, and quality of life. Follow-up assessments were conducted at month 6, although limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants received a $25 gift card for each study visit completed, and all procedures were approved by the University of Michigan Institutional Review Board.

## Lifestyle Intervention

Participants were randomized to either usual care in the general hepatology clinic or a mobile-technology based intervention for 6 months. Those in the intervention arm received a Fitbit Zip to track step counts, personalized feedback on physical activity goals, motivational messaging, nutritional assessment, and educational materials on NAFLD. Study staff monitored participants’ progress and provided support throughout the intervention period.

## Outcomes of Interest

The study aimed to assess changes in lifestyle behaviors, quality of life, metabolic and liver-related parameters, and physical activity patterns at month 6 post-intervention. Due to limitations in in-person visits, follow-up data primarily consisted of survey responses.

## Statistical Analysis

Descriptive and bivariate analyses were conducted to assess baseline characteristics and the impact of the intervention on outcomes. Correlations between lifestyle patterns and variables of interest were analyzed using linear and logistic regression. Wilcoxon rank-sum tests were used to evaluate differences in medians at the end of the intervention.

In conclusion, this study sheds light on the potential benefits of a lifestyle intervention for patients with NAFLD. By focusing on physical activity, dietary changes, and personalized support, patients may see improvements in their health outcomes and quality of life. Further research in this area can provide valuable insights into the management of NAFLD through lifestyle interventions.

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