Link between Constipation and Parkinson's Disease

by Medindia Content Team on  August 25, 2001 at 12:48 PM Research News
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Link between Constipation and Parkinson's Disease
Researhers have found from a long-term study that men who suffer from constipation are nearly three times more likely to eventually develop Parkinson's disease.

According to Robert Frank, Professor of Biostatistics and Statistics at the University of Texas School of Medicine, the connection between constipation and Parkinson's was noted almost 2 centuries back from a clinical study. Constipation is defined as less than one bowel movement per day. This study is part of a larger 24-year research project called the Honolulu Heart Program. Researchers are now studying health data from 6,790 male residents of the island of Oahu, Hawaii, aged 51 to 75 at the beginning of the study in the 1960's. Out fo which, 96 men eventually developed Parkinson's disease. Men who reported constipation were nearly three times as likely to develop Parkinson's disease over the 24 years.

This is the first prospective study to show that constipation can predate symptoms of Parkinson's by many years. But we can't conclude or yet know that whether exposure to something early in life left the men vulnerable to both conditions or perhaps constipation in men is an early sign of a predisposition to Parkinson's, maybe through a neurological connection. This will surely set a direction for future research.

The researchers accounted for the effects that differences such as age, diet and lifestyle could have on bowel functioning and Parkinson's disease. Dr. Robert felt that this had no effect in the results and that the strong tie between bowel movement frequency and the risk of Parkinson's disease remained.


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