Gut Bacteria Varies in Parkinson's Patients

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People with Parkinson’s disease appear to have different gut bacteria than healthy controls, according to a study published in Movement Disorders.

Filip Scheperjans, MD, of the Neurology Clinic of Helsinki University Hospital in Finland, and colleagues found that people with Parkinson’s had a much smaller amount of bacteria from the family Prevotellaceae compared to healthy controls, but elevated amounts of the bacteria family Enterobacteriaceae that seems to increase with disease severity.

Gastrointestinal dysfunction, especially constipation, is a known non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s that often precedes the onset of motor symptoms by years. Recent research shows that gut bacteria may interact with certain parts of the nervous system, including the enteric nervous system and the vagal nerve.

The researchers plan to re-examine the group of patients to see whether the changes in gut bacteria are permanent or change over time as the disease progresses. They will also explore whether the bacteria changes occur before the onset of motor symptoms, which could indicate a possible diagnostic procedure or treatment regimen. 

Gut Bacteria Varies in Parkinson's Patients

A new study finds that compared to healthy controls, people with Parkinson's disease appear to have distinctly different gut bacteria. They have hardly any bacteria from one family and the amount present from another family seems to increase with disease severity. The gut bacteria of people with Parkinson's disease is different to that of healthy people.

The study, led by the University of Helsinki Institute of Biotechnology in Finland, is published in the journal Movement Disorders.

It involved 72 patients with Parkinson's disease and an equal number of matched, healthy controls.

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