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02 December 2016 - NutraIngredients - Does Parkinson's start in the gut? Study reinforces gut-brain link

Will Chu
Findings from the team point to the gut as the origin of Parkinson’s disease, not only in the brain as previously thought.
 
 Parkinson’s disease may be triggered by gut microbes, according to a California Institute of Technology (Caltech) study that points to probiotics as a potential therapy for the disease.
 
Findings from the team point to the gut as the origin of Parkinson’s disease, not only in the brain as previously thought.
 
Gastrointestinal problems such as constipation often precede the decline in motor skills seen in patients with Parkinson's.
 
The team used mice bred to produce high levels of alpha-synuclein. This protein is associated with brain damage in Parkinson's sufferers.
 
However, only mice with bacteria in their gut developed Parkinson's symptoms - an observation not seen in sterile mice.
 
When bacteria from individuals with Parkinson's were transplanted into these mice, more symptoms were observed when compared to bacteria taken from healthy people.
 
Bacterial species from Parkinson’s donors included Proteus, Bilophila, and Roseburia, with a loss of members of families Lachnospiraceae, Rikenellaceae, and Peptostreptococcaceae, as well as Butyricicoccus.
 
According to the European Parkinson's Disease Association, 1.2 million people in Europe have Parkinson’s.
 
The disease sees the brain become progressively damaged over many years, with the main symptoms being involuntary shaking, slow movement and stiff and inflexible muscles.
 
“We have discovered for the first time a biological link between the gut microbiome and Parkinson's disease,” said senior study author and professor of Microbiology at Caltech, Dr Sarkis Mazmanian.