The NovoLiver Wellness Program helps people with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), with or without concurrent Metabolic Syndrome, reverse their current condition(s) and/or prevent them from progressing, so that they can reduce medication use, have more energy and feel as if they are in charge of their own health.
Truth in Wellness
To restore hope in disease reversal and provide people with the tools and support they need to achieve a state of complete physical and mental wellbeing via a fully digital platform.
Satya Health Sciences (SHS) is an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based startup offering a digital wellness platform called NovoLiver to help safely reverse Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) through a minimum of 10% body weight loss by scientifically addressing the four pillars - Nutrition, Exercise, Mindfulness, and Sleep. Such weight loss has also been shown to mitigate complex chronic diseases (eg: diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis, sleep apnea, and esophageal reflux).
NAFLD is characterized by deposition of excess body fat within the liver, inflammation caused by the fat, and eventually scar tissue formation (fibrosis). Just like you deposit fat within any part of your body, you can deposit it within your liver. Over time, fat damages your liver and could lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.
NAFLD affects over 30% of the US population, and is estimated to cost over $100 billion annually. This epidemic has led to higher liver-related disease, and deaths mostly due to cardiovascular disease. By 2030, liver cancer, cirrhosis, and liver disease-related deaths will increase by 137%, 168%, and 178%, respectively.
A little known fact about the liver-it has the greatest regenerative capacity of any organ in the body, but only if the cause of disease (in this case, excess fat) is satisfactory addressed.
Many drugs for NAFLD are in trials; those that make it to market will be plagued by cost, access, and side-effect issues. Endoscopic/bariatric surgery for obesity is too drastic a solution for the majority of patients. Studies show that lifestyle modification leading to 10% body weight loss can lead to the reversal of NAFLD. Most weight loss/ lifestyle modification options in the market are not evidence-based. Self-directed weight loss efforts rarely succeed.
There are several digital health companies in the obesity or weight management space. Most of them use mobile apps to digitize the process of weight loss and disease reversal, but these seldom include significant intervention.
Talk of a “digital health bubble” invades news feeds. High startup valuations and rising inflation prompt comparisons to the dot-com crash of 2001. Regulatory problems and substantial losses by prominent digital health startups only fan the flame. While we cannot predict macro-economic trends, we all know that traditional health care in the U.S. needs a systemic shift in strategy. Physicians have wasted too much time throwing medicines at symptoms while ignoring the root cause of illness. Our chronically ill patients could care less if we're in a digital health bubble. They just want their lives back.
Clinicians, patients, and investors are warming up to the concept of digital health "root cause" startups. These companies attack the underlying causes of a disease process. Satya Health Sciences is just such a "root cause" startup. You won't find expensive medicines or surgery in our wellness pathways.
An example of a physiologic process that NovoLiver aims to disrupt at the initial stage:
⬆ Stress → ⬆ cortisol + ⬆ inflammatory chemicals → ⬆ increased liver fat.
Physicians on our team all have similar stories to tell. They can recount several emergent calls during their career to address gastrointestinal bleeding in a patient with the fastest-growing liver disease, NAFLD. Even though these patients had never abused alcohol, they were experiencing a life threatening complication: cirrhosis with esophageal varices.
On follow up after discharge, such patients would question the very diagnosis of cirrhosis. Each with the same question “How is this possible, Doc, I don't drink?!”
Our physicians would then explain how a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle can also harm the liver. This information was typically accompanied by advice for the patient to "eat right" and “exercise more”. Admittedly, our physicians recognized this advice was well-meaning but vastly insufficient for their patients.
Our team set out to ask the right questions to isolate the root cause of NAFLD, and create solutions to fix it. The following consistent themes emerged from their research:
- weight loss of more than 10% total body weight can actually reverse fibrosis or scar deposition in the liver
- a need to focus on lifestyle changes
- the importance of a comprehensive “four pillar” approach (nutrition, physical activity, mindfulness and sleep).
They also derived guidance from the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) White Paper on the management of obesity known as “the POWER paper” (Practice guide on Obesity and Weight management, Education, and Resources) to create a program for NAFLD patients. The POWER model is based on four phases:
- Intensive weight loss intervention
- Weight stabilization
- Re-intensification when needed, and prevention of weight gain
They then took the science-backed principles of this program, added scalable technology and processes, created a robust curriculum with supporting educational materials for each pillar, and recruited a team of coaches to deliver the information virtually.
In short, our team has designed and implemented an app-based platform that combines both human and digital elements to address our Major Transformative Purpose: The Reversal of NAFLD.
Safety First, Always
We ensure our members safety within our program through repetitive, rigorous review of our processes and guidelines.
Empathy and Support
The journey to wellness is anything but linear. We know many of our members already judge and beat themselves up, they don't need it from us too. Our team members approach all interactions from a place of no-judgment, eagerness to help, deep understanding and love, always. Additionally, members are placed into cohorts with a few of their peers, so that they can feel supported by both the NovoLiver team and more importantly, each other.
Long Term Wellness
Our team members are dedicated to staying up to date with the most current research, so that our members are achieving their goals in ways that support their long term wellness. Additionally, we review our program outcomes to ensure the improvements our members experience are maintained over time. We are not interested in a quick fix for our members.
Doing the Right Thing
We are committed to doing the right thing throughout the entirety of our organization from member interactions to program development, team members to corporate affairs.
We also recognize we, as humans, do not always get it right the first time, despite our best efforts. Therefore, if we don't get it right the first time, we're committed to being transparent, addressing our errors and omissions, and learning from those experiences.
The world is full of technology, services and expertise we may not have. That said, we value partnerships that allow our members opportunities to expand, learn and transform.
Meet Our Team
Abigail Calderon, MS, RD
Tejal Joseph, MD
Suzie Genyk, MPH, RD
Gretchen Wiese, MS, RD
Xiti Naik, B.S.
Gurinder Singh, Esq
Adjunct Legal Counsel
Our initial data set (over 100 participants, some in the program for at least 2 years) looks very promising.
We're Also Tracking...
In addition to percentage body weight loss, we are tracking app utilization, support group attendance, quality of life scores (SF-12), BMI, anthropometric measurements (waist-to-hip, chest, triceps and quadriceps), changes in non-invasive testing parameters [imaging that captures steatosis and fibrosis levels, plus lab-based scoring systems like Hepatic Steatosis Index (HSI) and Fibrosis 4 Score (FIB-4)]. We are also tracking changes in medications for associated chronic conditions and mitigation of symptoms and signs of such conditions.
We have garnered several insights from our members’ experiences:
A New Perspective
NAFLD presents a portal to look at the obesity epidemic differently, more objectively.
Leading with a digital wellness approach reduces the friction for people to take action toward
A timely reversal reduces significant costs and more importantly, prevents needless loss of life.
Healthcare is not just a medical science - it's as much a social and behavioral science - the
cohorts in our initial data set got more results through social support than any diet or workout.
A Model That Works
This is a model for a post-COVID world - it is virtual and digital.
Mindfulness is a Must
Chronic disease is as much an emotional condition as it is a physical one - its’ reversal requires a loving environment, emotional healing and a foundation in mindfulness.