Saturday, January 26, 2013

Liver Trivia or Triver Livia

Things I think about:
Did you know that every vertebrate has a liver? This means that if you have a backbone, then you have a liver. So, when someone says, "He has no backbone," meaning that the person doesn't have courage to stand up for themselves, then they can also say, "He has no liver,"  since if you don't have a backbone, you don't have a liver either.
Vertebrates include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, primates, rodents and marsupials. 
  • Do marsupial livers have pouches?
  • Are fish livers buoyant?
  • Do bird livers have wings?
  • How do rodent livers deal with that horrible diet?
  • If a reptile eats a rodent, does that mean the snake's liver has to deal with whatever the rodent's liver was processing?

Image courtesy of rajcreationzs /

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Queen of What?

It's official—I have reached the pinnacle of my success. C.D. Mazoff, PhD declared that I am the Queen of Hepatic Hilarity. He even sent me a virtual crown.
Here is the background story. While writing an article about the recent Partner's Study for the HCV Advocate, Dr. Mazoff ask my husband and I for some statistical analysis of the data. (Click here to read the article.)
This is my reply: "If HCV (hepatitis C)  risk is ~1 per 190,000 sexual contacts, then you would have to have sex 6.5 times a day for 80 years, and assuming that you were an early-starter at age 10, you would be having sex until age 90. I think this is way more than Magic Johnson had sex. 
  • Your odds are 10x greater of getting murdered in the U.S. 18,000 to 1 
  • Odds are greater that you would die in an explosion: 1 in 107,787 
  • 100 x greater of dying from any kind of injury during the next year: 1 in 1,820"
"Dr. Mazoff wrote,  "PS: don’t blame me; remember this is from the Queen of Hepatic Hilarity!"

I wear this crown with pride. The jaundiced color goes well with my hair. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Liver Games

Alan Franciscus, the director of the Hepatitis C Support Project invented Hepardy – a liver-related version of Jeopardy. he and I play it at all the hepatitis C trainings and it is quite fun. Now there is a game show on the HCV Advocate website, so anyone can test their knowledge about hepatitis C and related issues.
Click here to play. Have fun!
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Liver TLA's

Have you ever noticed how often we use three-letter acronyms, especially in medicine. I am referring to  abbreviations, such as DOA (dead on arrival) or the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).  My husband calls these TLAs. He is an engineer, and for years we attended his company's holiday party. After I started working at Stanford, we were invited to a party. My husband said, "Oh great, a whole bunch of new TLAs to learn."

Texting has caused a blossoming of TLAs, which can sometimes cause confusion. For instance, LOL means either laugh out loud or lots of love, so you have to be really careful using LOL or you may ruin a romantic moment.

TLAs are wonderful shortcuts for those that know the code. But for those who don't, TLAs can cut off communication. With liver disease, some TLAs are essential. ALT is much easier to say than Alanine Aminotransferase or AFP for Alpha Fetoprotein.

With liver disease, there are 2 and 4-letter acronyms. HE means hepatic encephalopathy, DILI means drug-induced liver injury. I love the expression DILI.. Although I had it once and NEVER want to have it again, it might be fun to call in sick because, "My DILI is acting up."

Now that you know what DILI is, you are smarter, but you will sound silly.