PD and Ulcers… The Connection

imageOddly enough, one of the latest breakthroughs in PD research has to do with the gastrointestinal tract.

Recently, researchers in Denmark have made a significant discovery that tells us that Parkinson’s disease may not necessarily begin within the brain but may, in fact, find its origin in the GI tract. This brings the community – it’s patients, it’s caregivers, doctors, specialists, and researchers – closer to understanding just what it is that causes Parkinson’s disease.

The off-the-chart Denmark study showed that even before their diagnosis of having PD, patients were dealing with gastrointestinal issues that patients who had been previously diagnosed with PD struggled with, such as constipation.

15,000 medical records were researched and examined of patients who had the vagus nerve in their stomach removed as means of an ulcer treatment. Over 20 years, the odds of developing PD was cut in half. Patients who had the nerve only partially removed did not experience reductions.

One author of the Denmark study stated that constipation is often a factor in patients with Parkinson’s disease before they are even aware they have PD. She went on to say that this could a major breakthrough – finding a common link between the vagus nerve and PD.

This study certainly gives credence to an earlier study done in 2011, when a US study brought to light that the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers may be culprit to PD. Studies have also linked the vagus nerve and PD in animals.


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