Parkinsons is a dreadful condition, which gradually takes away the mobility and co ordination from 145 000 victims in the UK alone. Robbing them of dignity, happiness and any chance of a decent life. It seems to come in at least three forms, and is associated with the progressive loss of dopamine secretion in the brain. But up to now its cause remains unknown.
However, a new study by scientists at he University of Helsinki suggests a link to a common gut bacterium called Desulfovibrio, which seems to produce a protein called α-synuclein, which may damage nerve cells and lead to the onset of the condition. You can read an excellent story on the whole thing in the Mail here  by Hannah Macdonald. It’s early days yet, and the samples are small. But it leads us on to something which has intrigued us for a long time.
One of the pleasures of being a science journalist, as opposed to a scientist, is that it leaves one free to speculate, and make connections where the strict rules of scientific procedure preclude wiser heads from speaking. For some time now, the medical press has been buzzing with intriguing speculation about the origins of diseases and disorders of the digestive tract. To give another digestive example: The Conversation recently carried a piece on the origins of Alzheimers and gum health  Again, not conclusive; but pointing somewhere, perhaps? And we could add two other diseases of mysterious origin, which ravage the lives of millions; Motor Neurone Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. Would it be a total waste to gamble a little money on further research into the gut, its microbiomes and general health, in the pursuit of such a good cause?
We at LSS love it when the truth was discovered to be there all along hiding in plain sight. We still recall our delight when it was revealed that dinosaurs had never gone extinct, but were floating around on the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens, calling loudly for supplies of bread. Could it be that our gut instinct is right?
#parkinsons #dopamine #hannah macdonald #gingivalis #alzheimers #dinosaurs #MS #MND