Parkinson’s Disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. Over the last 5 years, a number of studies have shown a connection between the Enteric Nervous System (a system of inter-connected neurons in the gut wall), and the Central Nervous System. In this way the gut connects to the brain in a two way street.
Interest is thus focussed on exactly how the gut bacteria, pathogens and even parasites might affect the ENS, and thus the brain.
Caltech (California Institute of Technology) researchers have found a link between impaired motor skills and gut bacteria. Apparently, in mice which had certain gut bacteria present and which also overproduced a protein (alpha-synuclein or aSyn), the mice experienced deteriorated motor skills, exactly as those found in Parkinson’s disease. However, in situations where mice overproduced aSyn but did not have the gut bacteria present, there was no loss of motor skills. Clearly then somehow a loss of key gut bacteria may be a cause of Parkinson’s. The results were published in the December 1st 2016 Issue of ‘Cell’.
Sarkis Mazmanian, Caltech Professor of Microbiology and Heritage Medical Research Institute investigator, said that they need to check the data but, if confirmed, a plan of attack on Parkinson’s might involve the stomach rather than the brain.
It now seems more and more likely that alpha-synuclein can build up in the ENS and that a toxin or a pathogen might start the inflammatory process in the gut leading to inflammation in the brain.
This is not the first time we have provided research on this website of a link between gut bacteria and the disease; a study from the University of Helsinki showed a clear link between certain gut bacteria and Parkinson’s.
In the over 65s, almost 3% of people develop Parkinson’s. Your gut microbiome has already been dubbed your second brain by expert researchers in America.
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