Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease: a gut feeling that we’re looking in the wrong places

Posted by: | July 13, 2017 | Comments

alzheimers

Laura Brown: Despite researchers’ best efforts, a definite cure has yet to be found for either Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. Over the last decade, the brain has been the focal point for the origin of these diseases, but scientists are now turning their attention to elsewhere in the body for possible trigger sites and thus targets for novel therapies. Does the gut and its diverse microbiota hold any clues?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are classified as two distinctly different diseases, but there are certain similarities between them. The most common symptom of PD is the tremor caused by both changes in the basal ganglia circuitry and de-regulated dopamine neurotransmission within the brain. While for AD, memory impairment is the most common symptom. There is often a reciprocal relationship between the two diseases; people with PD are initially diagnosed with movement and co-ordination problems and then, at advanced stages, memory and other cognitive functions deteriorate. Conversely, AD patients are initially diagnosed with memory problems but at advanced stages Parkinsonian symptoms develop.

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