Parkinson’s may originate in the gut, says new study

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Author: Joe McAweaneyPublished: 27 June 2019

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Researcher using microscope in laboratory

A new study, published in medical journal ‘Neuron’, has found evidence to suggest that Parkinson’s may originate in the gut.

As part of the study, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, US, injected abnormally folded alpha-synuclein – a protein closely connected to the development of Parkinson’s – into the gut of over 100 mice.

After one month the misfolded protein had spread to areas of the brain, with researchers saying the animals’ symptoms closely mirrored the condition in humans.

The results follow on from a study in Sweden in 2017, when a team of researchers at the Karolinska Institutet found similar results.

Ted Dawson, professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University and co-author of the research said: “It supports and really provides the first experimental evidence that Parkinson’s disease can start in the gut and go up the vagus nerve.”


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