Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Full Liver Regeneration in Donors & Recipients with Transplants

I never cared for liver. Bad texture. Disgusting taste. Revolting to look at.  I never cared about the liver as an internal organ either and was scarcely even aware of the liver beyond knowing that alcoholics abused their livers terribly and that that was "bad."

Then I met Dr. Rodier, who is always going on about "liver detoxification pathways" and the liver's role in digestion and health. Okay, if I don't have to look at it, I'm happy to honor the liver's work, from blood sugar regulation, control of cholesterol and hormone levels, and digestive support to trapping and breaking down bacteria and toxins for safe elimination. Eating allergenic foods as well as foods laden with pesticides or other chemicals such as preservatives also can overtax the liver.

What blew me away is learning that the liver can regenerate itself fully, both in a donor -- who gives a substantial portion of his/her liver to a friend or relative -- and also in a recipient. And, the liver regenerates almost fully in both donor and recipient in a mere two months.  While the liver regenerates faster in recipients, research shows that donors, even with smaller liver volume at regeneration, regain full liver function within a year.

This is not news to the scientific community, which has been doing research on liver regeneration for decades, but given my relative newcomer status to the world of the liver, I am still wowed by the fact that the liver can regenerate itself so fully.

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