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Is there an association between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cognitive function? A systematic review

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2022, 00:00 authored by Elena GeorgeElena George, Surbhi SoodSurbhi Sood, Robin DalyRobin Daly, Sze Yen TanSze Yen Tan
Abstract
Background
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is represented as the most common liver disease worldwide. NAFLD is associated with metabolic risk factors underpinned by insulin resistance, inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, leading to extrahepatic changes in central nervous diseases such as cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The aim of the review is to explore the association between NAFLD and cognitive function.

Methods
Using the PRISMA guidelines, a systematic electronic literature search was conducted in four databases: MEDLINE, PsychINFO, Embase and CINAHL from inception until March 2021. Neuropsychological tests utilised within each study were grouped into relevant cognitive domains including ‘general cognition’, ‘reasoning’, ‘mental speed, attention and psychomotor speed’, ‘memory and learning’, ‘language’, ‘visuospatial perception’ and ‘ideas, abstraction, figural creations and mental flexibility’.

Results
Eleven observational studies that involved 7978 participants with a mean age of 51 years were included. Those with NAFLD had poor cognitive performance in three cognitive domains, including ‘general cognition’, ‘mental speed, attention and psychomotor speed’, and ‘ideas, abstraction, figural creations and mental flexibility’.

Conclusion
The observed results from the 11 included studies showed that NAFLD was associated with lower cognitive performance across several domains. However, studies conducted to date are limited to observational designs and are heterogeneous with varying diagnostic tools used to assess cognitive function.

Trial registration
PROSPERO Registration: CRD42020161640.

History

Journal

BMC Geriatrics

Volume

22

Issue

1

Article number

ARTN 47

Pagination

1 - 19

Publisher

BMC

Location

London, Eng

ISSN

1471-2318

eISSN

1471-2318

Language

Eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal