What role does the gut play in Parkinson's disease? | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

21 July,

What role does the gut play in Parkinson's disease?

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A new study, published in a special supplement of the Journal of Parkinson's Disease, reviews what we know so far about the link between the gut and Parkinson's disease. Homing in on the gut may help diagnose the condition much sooner and slow down its progression.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), around 50,000 people in the United States receive a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease each year.

Currently, around 500,000 people have the condition.

By the time physicians diagnose it, most brain cells that are affected in Parkinson's have already died.

For this reason, it is more difficult to slow down the progressive disease.

Therefore, researchers have recently been looking into ways to detect the condition much earlier, going beyond the movement-related neurons and neurotransmitters in their search for a culprit.

In their exploration of the causes behind Parkinson's disease, researchers have zeroed in on the gut.

More and more studies are suggesting that the condition starts in the gastrointestinal system — at least for some people who have digestive symptoms years before any motor symptoms develop.

Some studies have even shown that the alpha-synuclein protein, which is abnormal in Parkinson's disease, travels from the brain to the stomach via the vagus nerve, a major component of the parasympathetic nervous system.

So, what is the current state of existing research on the gut-brain connection in Parkinson's? A new review, entitled "The gut and Parkinson's disease: Hype or hope?" set out to investigate.

Dr. Filip Scheperjans, Ph.D. — of the Department of Neurology at the Helsinki University Hospital in Finland — is the first and corresponding author of the review.


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