Parkinson's disease sufferers have a different microbiota in their intestines than healthy counterparts, they have less Prevotellaceae bacteria, according to a study conducted at the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH).
But what does that even mean? Microbiome claims are in fashion but no one has been able to figure out if has any bearing on health. Yogurt companies and supplement makers are the only groups benefiting so far.
The study 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. The more Enterobacteriaceae they had, the more severe the symptoms.
"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," explains DMSc Filip Scheperjans, neurologist at the HUCH Neurology Clinic. "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.