Recent research suggests that the gut microbes might represent a major factor influencing the development of Parkinson’s disease. Experts from the California Institute of Technology have conducted an extensive study on mice to see what symptoms they experience after being injected with gut bacteria taken from patients with Parkison’s disease.
Another group of mice received doses of gut microbes from healthy patients so that the scientists could compare the results in both groups. Based on the findings, the team established that the mice injected with altered gut microbes developed Parkinson’s symptoms, whereas the specimens from the other group remained healthy.
The scientists emphasize that although the study hasn’t found a cause-and-effect link between gut bacteria and Parkinson’s disease, their research represents a major step forward to a potential cure for this condition.
There are roughly one million Americans and ten million people across the world living with this disease. According to James Beck, the Scientific Affairs Vice President at the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, the latest study represents a breakthrough in the medical field.
Although Beck is not one of the study authors, he underlines that these findings might lead to the development of new therapies. Parkinson’s is a degenerative brain disorder which is caused by the massive buildup of alpha-synuclein, a protein that becomes dangerous in high amounts.
The common symptoms of this condition include movement problems, rigid muscles, and tremor. Although patients who detect the disease early can slow the progression of the symptoms, they eventually get worse.
Based on the estimates, roughly 60,000 people across the United States are diagnosed with this brain disorder every year. It is worth mentioning that this is not the first time scientists suspect that gut bacteria can influence the development of other health conditions.
Previous studies have revealed that fungi, yeast, viruses, and bacteria forming the microbiome have a direct effect on our health. Gut microbes have the role of facilitating food digestion, but if they are altered, people are more likely to develop a broad range of conditions, including autism and cancer.
According to Sarkis Mazmanian, the lead author of the study, previous research has shown that Parkinson’s patients have different gut microbes compared to healthy people.
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