Parkinson's disease has long been considered a disease of the brain, but several studies indicate the role of the digestive system. A study published Wednesday in the United States is particularly interested in a small body that it considers unnecessary.
The authors of this study, based on the medical data of 1.7 million Swedes that followed about half a century, found that those who had the attachment removed in their early life had a developmental risk of Parkinson's disease was reduced by 19%. The effect looks specific for Swedes living in rural areas. For them the risk is reduced by 25%, while in urban areas it is not possible to reduce the risk.
As for those who developed Parkinson's disease, the researchers found that apendectomy (removal of the additive) was associated with a later onset of three and a half years on average, said Viviane Labrie, research institute Van Andel in Michigan, during a conference call with by press on Tuesday.
"Our work suggests that the supplement can play a role in the onset of Parkinson's disease," she explained, pointing out that this role is probably not exclusive.
Parkinson's patients suffer from gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, decade or more before symptoms such as tremors and other motor problems. This led the scientific community to be interested in the role of the digestive system.
The supplement is a place to store intestinal bacteria and it seems to play a role in the immune response. It is also a "reservoir" of the key protein in Parkinson's disease, called alpha-synuclein, especially in abnormal form.
But this protein is rich in affection for everyone, sick or not. This suggests to researchers that abnormal proteins sometimes manage to escape from the supplements to the brain, where this could cause damage.
"This protein does not like to stay in one place," said Viviane Labrie. "It moves from neurons to neurons."
And exactly, the nerve, the vagus nerve, connects the digestive tract to the brain. Experiments have shown that the protein is capable of this time.
"If it enters the brain, it can be set up and developed until there is a neurotoxic effect that can lead to Parkinson's disease," says the researcher.
The authors of the study warned the press that it is not advisable for everyone to remove the add-on. "We do not say that if you have a removing, you will not have Parkinson's disease," warns Viviane Labrie.
But this paper gives an additional notion of the role of a small organ, which could one day lead to therapy, in order to neutralize this reservoir.
For now, the relationship between cause and effect has not been established. As is the case with studies of this kind, many factors that did not take into account could explain the difference between those who were ablated and others.