There are over a hundred types of liver disease, but non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects 20 to 30 per cent of the western world.
It’s the build up of extra fat in liver cells not caused by alcohol, according to the American Liver Foundation.
It can lead to liver cirrhosis and cancer, and is a leading cause of death in the UK.
Often it generates no symptoms and isn’t identified until it’s well advanced – but diagnosis requires a biopsy.
However the University of California in San Diego might have found a way to detect it before it’s progressed too much.
They discovered the microbes in a patient’s stool – the gut microbiome – could be used to predict advanced NAFLD with 88 to 94 per cent accuracy.
The non-invasive test could pave the way for better treatment options in the future.
Rohit Loomba, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and study author, said: “”We estimate that as many as 100 million adults and children in the U.S. may have NAFLD. Determining exactly who has or is at risk for the disease is a critical unmet medical need.
“There are about 50 new NAFLD drugs in the pipeline, including about five that will likely be approved for use in the next two years. If we are better able to diagnose this condition, we will be better at enrolling the right types of patients in these trials, and ultimately will be better equipped to prevent and treat it.”
While the cause of NAFLD is unknown, it’s thought diet and genetics are significant factors. However eating aged cheese could protect your liver.
Up to 50 per cent of obese people are believed to have the condition, and there’s evidence the make-up of an individual’s gut micro biome may influence their risk of obesity in the first place.
This was the basis for the new research on 135 people, looking into whether gut microbiome might be linked to obesity-associated liver disease.
The researchers found 37 bacterial species in the stools, and through this were able to predict…