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I understand that Caltech has found that gut bacteria from PD patients encourages PD symptoms in mice.  What do you think of this study and its potential to help find a disease modifying agent.  Also, could you comment on the possible spread of PD from the gut to the brain via the vagus nerve and also the possibility of an nasal route (given that some Parkinson patients have olfactory loss--without gut symptoms--decades prior to motor symptoms).

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It has long been hypothesized that in many cases Parkinson may start from the gut and involve the vagus nerve and similar systems.  I have been a believer in this theory.  The new paper linking gut microbiome is interesting and I personally have been a believer in a link in some cases.  It may not however be so simple as changing the microbiome to improve symptoms.  Hope that helps.

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Symptoms : Parkinson's Disease is associated with gastrointestinal motility abnormalities that can favour the occurrence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth can lead to the following symptoms : abdominal bloating and distension,  excess gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea or sometimes chronic constipation [1].


Prevalence : Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth occurs in somewhere between 30% and over half of all people with Parkinson's Disease in contrast to only 8% to 10% of people that do not have Parkinson's Disease. It is very significantly related to the severity of Parkinson's Disease [1, 2]. 


Causes of symptoms : In Parkinson's Disease there is an increased contraction of the colon [3], and prolonged passage through the small intestine [4]. The occurrence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in Parkinson's Disease could therefore be due to gastrointestinal motility abnormalities leaving bacteria for longer in the intestines [1].


[1] Movement Disorders [2011] 26 (5) : 889-892 (M.Gabrielli, P. Bonazzi, E.Scarpellini, E.Bendia, E.C.Lauritano, A.Fasano, M.G. Ceravolo, M.Capecci, A.Rita Bentivoglio, L.Provinciali, et al)


[2] Journal of Neural Transmission [2016] Sep 2 [Epub ahead of print] (X.L.Niu, L.Liu, Z.X.Song, Q.Li, Z.H.Wang, J.L.Zhang, H.H.Li)


[3] Experimental Neurology [2007] 207 (1) : 4-12 (G.Anderson, A.R. Noorian, G.Taylor, M.Anitha, D.Bernhard, S.Srinivasan, J.G.Greene)


[4] Journal of Neural Transmission [2015] 122 (12) : 1659-1661 (J. Dutkiewicz, S.Szlufik, M.Nieciecki, I.Charzynska, L.Królicki, P. Smektala, A.Friedman)


Bacteria doesn't cause Parkinson's Disease. Parkinson's Disease causes bacteria to occur in the gut.

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