Who can forget the heartbreak in the 2010 film Love and Other Drugs when a young woman with early onset Parkinson’s Disease (Anne Hathaway) hears personal stories from other people with the chronic, untreatable disease, and effectively sees her doomed fate.
For the 60,000 Americans diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease this year (Parkinson’s Association of the Carolinas), we’re here to tell you there’s an exciting new development in the search for a cure.
According to NBC News, a study from the California Institute of Technology found the microbiomes in the guts of Parkinson’s patients were missing certain classes of bacteria found in healthy persons. This is a flashing green-light that therapies using gut-bacteria may actually be used to treat Parkinson’s.
A gut-solution may seem strange for a disease that, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, involves the death of neurons in the brain. Some of the neurons effected by Parkinson’s control dopamine, a chemical responsible for sending signals to the brain to control movement and coordination. It is no surprise then, that traditional therapies for Parkinson’s involve drugs that target the brain directly, says NBC News.
Although researchers at the California Institute of Technology say they have not yet pinned-down the exact bacteria that effect Parkinson’s, they’re sure gut bacteria regulate symptoms of the disease.
To date, there is no bacteria-based therapy to treat Parkinson’s, nor is there a «Parkinson’s diet.» However, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research advocates eating fruits and vegetables to remain energized and hydrated, and fiber-rich foods and plenty of fluids to relieve constipation, a common symptom of Parkinson’s.
If your doctor does not bring up diet and nutrition, it’s your responsibility to ask. What you eat affects the effectiveness of your medicine and your overall health. Soon, we may learn that what you eat can also ease or exacerbate symptoms. Take control of your health. Eat well and always ask your doctor about diet and nutrition.
Do you know someone with Parkinson’s? Do you have a friend whose family member suffers from Parkinson’s? Rasplove this article with them.