Considerable evidence has been mounting supporting a relationship between the gastrointestinal system and Parkinson’s disease. Many pathologists and neurologists believe that Parkinson’s disease may start in the gut, however this view remains speculative.
The discovery that a bug in the gut called H. Pylori could underpin gastrointestinal disease and also lead to ulcer formation was one of the most important observations in modern GI medicine.
The most recent study on gut bacteria and Parkinson’s was published by a Finnish group led by Dr. Scheperjans. The authors of this study point out that the “intestinal microbiota interact with the autonomic and central nervous system via diverse pathways and that these areas are susceptible to Parkinson’s pathology”.
Nielsen and colleagues in 2012 examined H. Pylori infection, and the risk of Parkinson’s disease in a study published in the European Journal of Neurology. There were 4484 Danish patients included and they were drawn from the Danish Civil Registration System. The use of H. Pylori eradicating drugs was associated with a 45% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Similarly, the use of proton pump inhibitors was also associated with a 23% increased risk for the development of Parkinson’s disease. The authors speculated that chronic H. Pylori infections and also gastritis could possibly be related to the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, though there were many methodological issues limiting the overall study interpretation.
- The decision to treat H. Pylori should be made in consultation with both the GI specialist and the neurologist, especially since the infection commonly occurs in 2/3 of the population, and the GI specialist may in some cases need to perform follow-up testing (e.g. a scope to visualize the stomach and intestines).
All information taken from: http://www.parkinson.org