There's Mounting Evidence That Parkinson's Starts in The Gut - Not The Brain
Scientists have found mounting evidence that Parkinson's could start in the gut before spreading to the brain, with one study in 2017 observing lower rates of the disease in patients who had undergone a procedure called a truncal vagotomy.
The operation removes sections of the vagus nerve - which links the digestive tract with the brain - and over the course of a five-year study, patients who had this link completely removed were 40 percent less likely to develop Parkinson's than those who hadn't.
According to the team led by Bojing Liu from the Karolinska Instituet in Sweden, that's a significant difference, and it backs up earlier work linking the development of the brain disease to something happening inside our bellies.
If we can understand more about how this link operates, we might be better able to stop it.
"These results provide preliminary evidence that Parkinson's disease may start in the gut," said Liu.
"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."