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coverThere are trillions of microorganisms in the human microbiome — they outnumber their host’s cells substantially — and their exact role in health and disease is only now starting to be explored. Studies have found that people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease have a different composition of bacteria in their gut from healthy individuals.[1],[2] However, it is as yet impossible to say why or what direct effect this has. Whatever the reason, changes in the microbiome are unlikely sufficient to cause disease. Instead, an emerging picture of liver disease and cancer sees their development as a process in which various factors — including a high-fat diet, alcoholism, genetic susceptibility and the microbiome — can each contribute to the progression from minor to severe liver damage, and from severe liver damage to cancer.

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