Although most people with Laënnec cirrhosis have been alcoholic, it is not true that most alcoholics acquire Laënnec cirrhosis. Why some do and some don't has been a mystery; it appears that inadequate food intake, quantitative or qualitative, cannot always explain hepatic disease in some chronic imbibers, nor can adequate diet account for the immunity of others. Since alcoholic cirrhosis starts with fatty infiltration of the liver, it was reasonable for Frederickson et al1 and others to suggest that hyperlipemia as well as alcohol might play a role in this disorder. Mendelson and Mello2 have now reported a study that supports that hypothesis.
Thirteen male, habitual drinkers, otherwise healthy, were observed on a clinical research ward with access to an adequate diet. Serum lipid and lipoprotein levels were measured before, during, and after an 11- or 12-day period of ad lib alcohol ingestion. An intake of up to