AAN 2017 Meeting: New Evidence Suggest Parkinson’s Originates in the Gut

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 | Movement Disorders , Research and Publications


Parkinson’s disease may start in the gut and spread to the brain via the vagus nerve, according to a study published in the April 26, 2017, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. When researchers analyzed the results from preliminary research for the two different types of vagotomy surgery, they found that people who had a truncal vagotomy at least five years earlier were less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who had not had the surgery and had been followed for at least five years.

A total of 19 people who had truncal vagotomy at least five years earlier developed the disease, or 0.78 percent, compared to 3,932 people who had no surgery and had been followed for at least five years, at 1.15 percent. By contrast, 60 people who had selective vagotomy five years earlier developed Parkinson’s disease, or 1.08 percent. After adjusting for factors such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, arthritis and other conditions, researchers found that people who had a truncal vagotomy at least five years before were 40 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who had not had the surgery and had been followed for at least five years.

The study was supported by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, the Parkinson Research Foundation in Sweden, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

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