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Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences
School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia
ISSN: 1394-195X
Vol. 26, No. 2, 2019, pp. 18-29
Bioline Code: mj19018
Full paper language: English
Document type: Review Article
Document available free of charge

Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2019, pp. 18-29

 en The 2017 M Balasegaram Memorial Lecture: The Changing Landscape of Liver Diseases in Malaysia—60 Years On!
Goh, Khean-Lee


The landscape of liver diseases in Malaysia has changed dramatically since the time of Professor Balasegaram Manickavasagar—an eminent surgeon in the 1960s.
The most significant discoveries in hepatology have been that of hepatitis B virus in 1963 and hepatitis C virus in 1989, which have both been shown to be predominantly blood borne diseases.
Hepatitis B and C infections result in long term carrier state and a high propensity to develop liver cirrhosis and cancer. Hepatitis B is the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer in Malaysia. Blood bank screening and public health preventive measures have reduced the disease burden significantly and an effective vaccination for hepatitis B is now incorporated in our National Immunisation Programme. Although no vaccine is available for hepatitis C, highly effective eradication therapies were introduced in 2011. These agents will significantly change the disease scenario across the world.
A “new” disease was described in 1980, by Ludwig et al.—non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) disease. With the global epidemic of obesity and diabetes mellitus, NAFLD is set to increase exponentially across the world including in Malaysia. It will be the most important liver disease in the future, replacing hepatitis B and C infections.

liver abscess; hepatitis B; hepatitis C; hepatocellular carcinoma; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Malaysia

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