New Parkinson's Research Suggests It Does Not Originate From The Brain


The long-held belief that Parkinson's disease is a problem of the brain might get crushed. A new study has revealed that the origin of the disease might not really be in the brain but in the gut after all.

The basis of the study was due to the fact that most Parkinson's patients have been diagnosed with difficulty in their bowel movement a few years before other symptoms begin showing up. Moreover, it also showed that those diagnosed with Parkinson's have a different type of gut bacteria than those who don't.

To further test this, a team from the California Institute of Technology genetically modified mice to make them more prone to Parkinson's disease by producing large doses of alpha-synuclein fibers inside these lab rats.

Alpha-synuclein fibers are toxic fibers that is normally soluble and harmless in the presence of healthy nerve cells. However, doctors cannot explain why they clump together into toxic fibers that attack and damage brain nerves.

The mice in the study were divided into two groups. Those that were genetically modified were placed in dirty conditions making them more susceptible to the disease. The other group, on the other hand, were placed in sterile cages.

Those in sterile conditions have more improved motor skills and less toxic fibers while those in dirty conditions deteriorate rapidly. However, when the dirty ones were injected with antibiotic, the symptoms of Parkinson's decreased. On the other hand, the healthy mice were injected with gut bacteria from human patients with Parkinson's and the mice deteriorated rapidly.

Because of that, the researchers conclude that the only difference between the two groups of mice were the presence of the gut bacteria, which worsened the situation.

Despite this scientific breakthrough, the scientists were quick to add that studies conducted in mice might have different results when performed with human subjects.

For now, the team wanted to focus more on the gut bacteria that is related to Parkinson's. They hope to specifically identify which microbe is causing the disease so that they can develop and find better treatments in the future.

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