Link found between stomach infection and Parkinson’s symptoms

Link found between stomach infection and Parkinson’s symptoms
More than half of the world’s population carries Helicobacter pylori , which affects mucous membranes in the gut and can cause a range of digestive tract disorders. Credit: royaltystockphoto

Researchers report that a common bacterium infecting the human stomach has significant links with worsened symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's disease is the world's second most common , causing tremors and decreasing motor coordination. Causes are elusive and doctors currently can only treat its symptoms.

Researchers at the University of Malaya analysed a small group of Parkinson's disease patients with and without a common infection of the stomach lining caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Their results showed that those with the infection – about a third of the total – tested worse in motor problems related to Parkinson's disease.

Subjects whose infection could be treated and eradicated showed fewer Parkinson's disease symptoms in motor performance tests, while those who stayed infected had further declines in their test results.

More than half of the world's population carries H. pylori, with the highest infection rates in Asian countries. It affects mucous membranes in the gut and causes chronic infections, often contracted during childhood. The bacterium can cause a range of digestive tract disorders and can linger indefinitely unless treated, although some subjects show few symptoms.

The researchers propose two main theories to explain their results. The first is that the infection may reduce the uptake of levodopa, a drug that reduces symptoms of Parkinson's disease. More speculatively, chronic H. pylori infections might aggravate or even trigger Parkinson's disease. However, they also speculate that it's possible that Parkinson's disease may make subjects more prone to contracting the infection.

The researchers say their limited study of 103 subjects aimed mainly to confirm the link between Helicobacter pylori infection and Parkinson's disease suggested by previous, less rigorous research. In addition to its size, the study was limited by the fact that it took place in a single Malaysian clinic and that it was cross-sectional; so it was essentially a data snapshot taken at a certain place and time.

But they say the link they found between the and worsened of Parkinson's disease is strong enough to justify further, larger, well-designed clinical trials to confirm it and investigate its causes in more depth.

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Provided by University of Malaya
Citation: Link found between stomach infection and Parkinson’s symptoms (2016, June 6) retrieved 23 July 2019 from
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Jun 06, 2016
This whole story is ridiculous. The causes of Parkinson's are known; they are not "mysterious". Acknowledging the true culprits would lead to hundreds of billions in liability lawsuits against US industries polluting our environment, and the drug companies whose products are damaging the brain leading to Parkinson's...Pesticides, and prescription drugs are the main culprits...MSG, aspartame, vaccines, heavy metals, air pollution, chronic infections add to the insult. Avoiding all these would mean upending US society as we know it, hence nothing will be done, and I must be delusional for telling you this.

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