Gut bacteria may hold the key to preventing Parkinson's disease
Doctors may soon be able to screen for Parkinson's-related bacteria and then remove it from the gut.
Alzheimer's, depression and obesity are all diseases that can potentially be prevented, if not treated, by the right balance of bacteria, fungi and viruses that live naturally in our gut – known as the 'gut microbiome'.
Now, Finnish scientists say they have discovered that certain types of gut bacteria are also the likely cause of Parkinson's disease.
A common age-related neurodegenerative disorder, Parkinson's causes involuntary or uncontrollable movements and affects approximately eight million people worldwide. But despite more than 200 years of research, its underlying causes are not fully understood.
However, thanks to microbiome research, the puzzle has finally been illuminated.
"Parkinson's disease is mainly caused by environmental factors, namely environmental exposure to Desulfovibrio bacterial strains, and only a small part, approximately 10 percent, is caused by individual genes," said lead researcher Professor Per Saris, from the University of Helsinki, in a statement.