Animal study presents best evidence to date that Parkinson’s begins in the gut

The next step in the research investigated whether this spread of alpha-synuclein from the gut to the brain conferred behavioral changes similar to those seen in Parkinson’s disease. Across a number of different behavioral studies, commonly used to evaluate Parkinson’s disease in animals, the mice seeded with the misfolded alpha-synuclein scored consistently lower than control group mice. Most importantly, however, the results of a third experimental group of mice, seeded with misfolded alpha-synuclein but with severed vagal nerves, showed scores similar to that of the control group. This suggests Parkinson’s disease may originate in the gut, and blocking this transmission pathway could effectively prevent the onset of the disease.