The connections between Parkinson and the gastrointestinal tract are known. But now a group of scientists has made a finding on the link with the appendix it adds new parts to study the origin of this disorder.
People who removed the appendix from youngsters had between 19% and 25% less the risk of developing Parkinson's in adulthood, according to a study published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Our results indicate the appendix as a home site for Parkinson's and provide a way to design new treatment strategies to take advantage of the role of the gastrointestinal tract in the development of the disease, "said lead author Viviane Labrie of the Van Andel Research Institute in Michigan (USA).
Why? A look at the tissue of an extirpated appendage shows that the small organ, often considered futile, seems to be a depositing an abnormal protein (alpha-synuclein abnormally folded) that if it reaches the brain, it becomes a central feature of Parkinson's disease.
The great surprise, according to the results of the paper, is that many people may have concentrations of this worrying protein in their attachments: young and old, healthy brain and Parkinson's.
But do not hurry with the surgeon.
"We do not say he goes and goes through an apendectomy," said the neuroscientist and geneticist who led the team of researchers who analyzed data from two large-scale epidemiology studies, one of 1.6 million and another of 91 million . .
After all, many people without organs end up developing Parkinson and others who have the protein never get sick, the article says.
Reduction of risk became evident only when the appendix and the alpha-synuclein it contained were eliminated at an early stage of life, years before the onset of the disease, suggesting that the organ could participate in its onset. Its elimination after the disease began, however, had no effect on its progression.
In a general population, people with appendectomy had a 19% less chance of developing Parkinson's, which was amplified in people living in rural areas, with a 25% reduction in the risk of the disease. On the contrary, interventions did not have an apparent benefit in people whose disease was linked to genetic mutations transmitted by their families, a group that accounts for less than 10% of cases.
The efforts of the scientific community are focused on understanding the origin of this disorder so that it can be treated earlier, as patients now come to the office when motor symptoms such as tremor or stiffness appear, a sign that the disease is already advanced.
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Doctors and patients have known for some time that there is a connection between the gastrointestinal tract and Parkinson's. Constipation and other tract problems They are common in people who start to tremble and tremors and other circulatory problems that lead to the diagnosis of the disease.
The recent study will stimulate new research to try to find new clues to determine why and who are really in danger.
"It's a puzzle piece, a fundamental clue"said Allison Willis, a Parkinson's specialist at the University of Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the new studies, but says her patients regularly ask her about gastrointestinal connections.
Parkinson's disease scientist James Beck, who was not part of the study, also said that "There are many promising connections".
He noted that, despite his reputation, the appendix has a role in immunity that could influence inflammation. The type of bacteria that lives in the enclosure could also affect Parkinson's.
(Source: AP / LAURAN NEERGAARD-EFE)