Karolinska Institutet study suggests Parkinson’s starts in the gut

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Author: Parkinson's Life editorsPublished: 19 May 2017

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A study, carried out by the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, has found evidence suggesting that Parkinson’s starts in the gut before spreading to the brain.

The research team at the prestigious medical university used 40 years’ worth of data from Swedish national registers and observed lower Parkinson’s rates in patients who had undergone a ‘truncal vagotomy’ – an operation to remove sections of the vagus nerve, which links the digestive system to the brain.

Bojing Lui, who led the study, said “These results provide preliminary evidence that Parkinson’s disease may start in the gut.”

“Other evidence for this hypothesis is that people with Parkinson’s disease often have gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, that can start decades before they develop the disease.

“Much more research is needed to test this theory and help us understand the role this may play in the development of Parkinson’s,” Bojing Lui continued.

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