- 1Department of Medicine, Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, University of Verona, 37126 Verona, Italy.
Since the initial descriptions in the early 1980s by Dr. Ludwig et al. and Drs. Schaffner and Thaler, who firstly coined the terms nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), this liver disease has become a global health problem worldwide, causing considerable liver-related and extra-hepatic morbidity and mortality. Based on pathophysiological insights gained from the past decades, it has been clearly established that NAFLD is a metabolic liver disease whose etiology and pathogenesis extends beyond the liver and that NAFLD has important clinical implications, especially in terms of an increased risk of developing both cardiovascular disease (which represents the leading cause of death in this patient population) and other extra-hepatic manifestations, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and some extra-hepatic cancers. The aim of this brief commentary is to discuss a recent review article written by Dr. Lonardo and colleagues, who raised awareness of the history of NAFLD. Since "What's past is prologue", I believe that this review article focusing on the history of NAFLD may contribute to better understanding the disease itself, as well as to anticipating the lines of the future clinical and pharmacological research of this common and burdensome liver disease.