The study was based on already-known findings that those with Parkinson's had something in common: a build-up of the protein, alpha-Synuclein (αS) – the same protein produced when fighting off gastrointestinal infections (GI).
Although it’s an essential protein to needed beat GI, when there is too much of it it can become harmful to the brain.
Researchers looked at biopsy samples from the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum of 42 children with gastrointestinal distress and 14 adults who had an intestinal transplant and suffered Norovirus (winter vomiting bug). They found out that those with higher levels of αS had more inflamed intestinal walls.
Other studies on animals suggest that gut microbes can also infect the nervous system and end up in the brain.
Good news: there’s a drug ENT-01 (a steroid produced naturally by dogfish sharks) in the works that targets constipation relief related to Parkinson’s disease.