Parkinson's disease patients have a different microbiota in their intestines than healthy individuals, according to a study conducted at the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH).
They have much less bacteria from the 'Prevotellaceae' family; unlike their healthy counterparts who had a large quantity of bacteria from this family. Researchers also found that the amount of bacteria from the 'Enterobacteriaceae' family in the intestine was connected to the degree of severity of balance and walking problems in the patients.
DMSc Filip Scheperjans, neurologist at the HUCH Neurology Clinic said, "We are currently re-examining these same subjects to determine whether the differences are permanent and whether intestinal bacteria are associated with the progression of the disease and therefore its prognosis. In addition, we will have to see if these changes in the bacterial ecosystem are apparent before the onset of motor symptoms. We will of course also try to establish the basis of this connection between intestinal microbiota and Parkinson's disease - what kind of mechanism binds them."
The researchers hope that their discoveries could ultimately be used to develop a testing method which would improve the diagnostics in Parkinson's disease and perhaps finally find a way to treat or even prevent Parkinson's by focusing on gut microbiota.