HealthDay News — The risk for Parkinson disease is increased after appendectomy, according to a study presented at the 2019 Digestive Disease Week, held from May 18 to 21 in San Diego.

Mohammed Z. Sheriff, M.D., from the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and colleagues used data from electronic health records from 26 major integrated U.S. health care systems to examine whether appendectomies increase the risk for Parkinson disease.

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Of 62,218,050 patients in the database, 488,190 underwent appendectomies. The researchers found 4,470 cases of Parkinson disease in patients with appendectomies and 177,230 in patients without appendectomies. Compared with those without appendectomy, patients undergoing appendectomy had an increased risk for developing Parkinson disease (relative risk, 3.19). The risk was increased for patients aged 18 to 64 years and for those aged ≥65 years (relative risks, 4.27 and 2.20, respectively). After appendectomy, Caucasians, African-Americans, and Asians were at an increased risk for Parkinson disease (relative risks, 2.55, 3.11, and 2.73, respectively).

“Recent research into the cause of Parkinson’s has centered around alpha synuclein, a protein found in the gastrointestinal tract early in the onset of Parkinson’s,” Sheriff said in a statement. “This is why scientists around the world have been looking into the gastrointestinal tract, including the appendix, for evidence about the development of Parkinson’s.”

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