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Liver disease experts explore obesity epidemic links

Official launch of first Australian Liver Foundation lecture series

Former Queensland Premier, Hon Mike Ahern, will officially open the first annual international lecture series – sponsored by Roche – for the recently established Australian Liver Foundation this Friday 12 August at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, 10am.

The Chairman of the Foundation and host of the lecture series, Hon. Mike Ahern, said two million Australians are, or have been, affected by liver disease or cirrhosis and the recent dramatic increase in obesity is causing a corresponding rise in these numbers.

The Australian Liver Foundation has been formed in response to the ever-growing need for a more coordinated approach in Australia to research into liver diseases.

“With more than 2,000 Australians dying each year from chronic liver diseases, cirrhosis and cancers of the liver, gall bladder and bile ducts, we knew it was time to deliver a coordinated national approach to tackling these serious health issues. The present investment in liver research and public education is scant in relation to its magnitude, mortality and severity.”

The linkages between fatty liver disease and obesity will be discussed in detail at the lecture series featuring prominent Australian liver specialists as well as internationally renowned Professor Arun Sanyal from the Commonwealth University Medical Centre in Virginia, USA.

“As a former Queensland Minister for Health, I see the considerable value of this lecture series as it allows international scientific and medical communities to share research progress, recent findings and patient care techniques,” The Hon. Mike Ahern said.

“The launch of the Foundation’s lecture series has been due to an enormous volunteer effort by specialists and medical researchers giving generously of their time and expertise,” he said.

Relying heavily on public support, the recent establishment of the Australian Liver Foundation has been made possible by contributions from seed funding including $50,000 from the Terry White Chemists Group.

Terry White Chemists Group Chairman, Mr Terry White said the Foundation is dedicated to improving the methods of diagnosis for liver diseases and educating the community.

“This first international lecture series will allow international scientific and medical communities to share recent findings and will help to highlight these issues and make them known to the public, which is of vital importance for increased general community health,” Mr White said.

The launch will be held in the Westpac Auditorium at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research at 300 Herston Road, Herston at 10am.