Parkinson’s hope when scientists find that a probiotic can stop and even REVERSE the build-up of toxic tufts in the brain that cause tremors
- The probiotic bacillus subtilis prevented the formation of toxic protein aggregates
- Alpha-synuclein blocks dopamine production, which controls movement
- Campaigners said the results are “exciting” as they highlight the link with the gut
A common intestinal bacterium could slow down – and even reverse – the buildup of a Parkinson’s protein, research suggests.
Scientists have discovered that bacillus subtilis, a probiotic, has blocked the formation of toxic tufts that starve the dopamine brain in people with this condition.
The chemical allows you to send messages to and from brain regions that coordinate movement.
Gut microorganisms are thought to play a role in the initiation of Parkinson’s in some cases.
Explain why three quarters of sufferers have gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities, with many complaints of constipation.
Bacillus subtilis is believed to prevent and erase the accumulation of alpha-synuclein proteins by rebalancing the gut microbiome.
A common bacteria that increases digestive health can slow – and even reverse – the accumulation of a protein linked to Parkinson’s disease, according to research
Researchers from the universities of Edinburgh and Dundee say the “exciting” discovery could pave the way for future studies that measure the impact of supplements on the incurable condition.
In the brains of people with Parkinson’s, the alpha-synuclein protein unfolds and accumulates to form toxic lumps.
These plaques are associated with the death of the nerve cells responsible for dopamine production.
WHAT IS PARKINSON?
Parkinson’s disease affects one in 500 people and around 127,000 people in the UK live with this condition.
The figures also suggest that one million Americans suffer.
It causes muscle stiffness, slow movements, tremors, sleep disturbances, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to serious disabilities.
It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.
Patients are known to have decreased dopamine stocks because the nerve cells that produce it have died.
There is currently no cure and no way to stop the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific studies are underway to try and change it.
The illness caused boxing legend Muhammad Ali’s life in 2016.
The loss of these cells causes the motor symptoms associated with the disease, including freezing, tremors and slow movements.
In their latest study, the team administered over-the-counter probiotics containing bacillus subtilis to small nematodes that had been injected with the human Parkinsonian gene.
They found that bacillus subtilis had a protective effect against alpha-synuclein accumulation and also eliminated some of the already formed tufts. This improved the symptoms of movement in the nematodes.
Chief researcher Dr Maria Doitsidou said: “The results offer an opportunity to study how the change in bacteria that make up our gut microbiome affects Parkinson’s.
“The next steps are to confirm these results in mice, followed by accelerated clinical trials since the probiotic we tested is already commercially available.”
Dr. Beckie Port, Parkinson’s UK research manager, who funded the study, said: “Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological disease in the world.
‘Currently there is no treatment that can slow down, reverse or protect someone from his progression, but by financing projects like this, we are anticipating the day we will be there.
“Changes in microorganisms in the gut are believed to play a role in the initiation of Parkinson’s in some cases and are related to certain symptoms, which is why research on gut health and probiotics is ongoing.
“The results of this study are exciting in that they show a link between bacteria in the gut and proteins in the heart of Parkinson’s.”
It is the latest in a series of recent studies that have found a link between brain function and the thousands of different types of bacteria that live in the digestive system, known as the gut microbiome.
Parkinson’s disease affects one in 500 people and around 145,000 people in the UK live with this condition. In the United States that number is almost one million.