Reversing fatty liver disease; New study in Hong Kong will use state-of-the-art clinical technology to evaluate different weight-loss methods

November 17, 2020

Reversing fatty liver disease; New study in Hong Kong will use state-of-the-art clinical technology to evaluate different weight-loss methods

Singapore November 18, 2020. Researchers at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Prince of Wales Hospital, in collaboration with Perspectum, will use LiverMultiScan®, a new clinically available MRI-based technology, to evaluate how well different weight-loss treatments can reverse non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Over a quarter of adults in Hong Kong suffer from NAFLD, a chronic disorder that occurs when excessive fat builds up in the liver. NAFLD is strongly associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes and can lead to progressive inflammatory disease and mortality. Weight-loss is typically the first line of treatment to reverse NAFLD, but evaluation of different weight-loss methods requires reliable measurement of liver fat. The current standard-of-care test, abdominal sonography, cannot reliably quantify liver fat, so this study will use non-invasive multiparametric MRI technology LiverMultiScan, which has been shown to be repeatable and reproducible [Bachtiar et al, 2019].

Liver fat will be measured in participants before and after bariatric surgery, intensive lifestyle modification and usual care, and compared against a healthy control group to indicate which treatments are the most effective for reducing liver fat.

The results of the study will provide invaluable information about which treatments lead to the best outcomes for NAFLD patients and have the potential to influence the guidance on standard-of-care in NAFLD.

Professor Chu, investigator on the study, honorary consultant at Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong and Professor of the Department of Imaging and Interventional Radiology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, commented, “The prevalence of obesity in Hong Kong has risen to 29.9% (24.4% in females and 36.0% in males) as of 2015, significantly higher than the global prevalence of 13% in 2016. We believe that in obese patients with a similar degree of obesity but undergoing different anti-obesity treatments, there will be a different pattern of fat and/or metabolism variation, which subsequently determines the effectiveness of the corresponding weight control strategy. It is also important to assess whether there is reversal of obesity-related complications such as NAFLD. LiverMultiScan provides us with objective, reliable, quantitative data about liver fat content in patients before and after weight-loss treatment. This information is one of the important outcome measures in our research project”.

Professor Winnie Chu is an academic radiologist specializing and focusing on research, education, and clinical service in Paediatric Imaging. Author of over 300 peer-reviewed scientific papers and presenter of 100 scientific paper abstracts, she has a long-term interest in using MRI to assess the impact of interventions on metabolic health in obese patients.

LiverMultiScan is an MRI-based technology that enables clinicians to assess liver fat, iron, and fibroinflammatory disease in one safe and painless 15 minutes scan. It is cleared for clinical use in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore.

  • To volunteer to take part in this study, please email
  • For more information on where LiverMultiScan is available clinically, please contact