Parkinson’s Gut Brain Connection

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A new study builds on the growing hypothesis that Parkinson's disease may not originate in the brain
A new study builds on the growing hypothesis that Parkinson’s disease may not originate in the brain

A new paper published in the journal Nature Neuroscience is adding weight to the growing hypothesis suggesting the toxic protein clumps that cause Parkinson’s Disease begin aggregating in the gut before travelling to the brain. The study, led by scientists from Caltech, points to a particular enzyme that may prevent these proteins from initially clustering in the gut.

The primary pathological sign of Parkinson’s disease is the progressive cell death of the brain’s dopamine-secreting neurons. This is thought to be caused by Lewy bodies, which are toxic clusters of a protein called alpha-synuclein.

In the early 2000s German scientist Heiko Braak published a series of studies with a controversial hypothesis suggesting the damaging Lewy bodies first form in the gut, before moving up into the brain via the vagus nerve. The Braak hypothesis is still relatively divisive to this day, however, a number of recent studies are beginning to build a body of evidence backing it up.

A significant study last year demonstrated in mice how these Lewy bodies can move from the gut to the brain. Importantly, that research also found that severing the vagus nerve effectively halted the spread of these toxic proteins from the gut to the brain. This new research from Caltech scientists set out to better investigate the mechanisms by which these proteins move from the gut to the brain.

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About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).