Bacteria in Patients’ Guts Show Changes That May Weigh on Disease


People with Parkinson’s disease have substantial changes in the bacteria living in their gut relative to people without this neurodegenerative disorder, an analysis underscores.

“This dysbiosis [microbial imbalance] might result in a pro-inflammatory status which could be linked to the recurrent gastrointestinal symptoms affecting PD [Parkinson’s disease] patients,” its researchers wrote.

These findings were in the study “Meta-analysis of the Parkinson’s disease gut microbiome suggests alterations linked to intestinal inflammation,” published in npj Parkinson’s Disease.

The human gut is home to billions of bacteria, called the gut microbiome. These bacteria have profound effects on, and are affected by, the health of the person in which they live.

Emerging research has indicated that the gut microbiome may be altered in Parkinson’s patients. However, individual studies often find inconsistent — or even contradictory — results, which has made it difficult for researchers to get a holistic understanding of the relationship between Parkinson’s and the gut microbiome.

A team of researchers with the Quadram Institute Bioscience, in the UK, conducted a meta-analysis to better understand this relationship. A meta-analysis is a type of study in which scientists synthesize data from multiple, previously published studies. Because they assess data from multiple works, meta-analyses generally have more statistical power than individual studies.

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