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Prebiotic bar intake shows promise in easing Parkinson’s

Swiss drugmaker, Novartis signed a $3.5 billion deal with Chinook Therapeutics to boost the US-based company’s last-stage experimental trials of two drugs to treat chronic kidney diseases.

HQ Team

July 22, 2023:A study suggests that constipation, a common early symptom in  Parkinson’s diagnosis, may result from an abnormal microbiome in the bowel.

RUSH neurologist Deborah Hall, MD, conducted the study and it shows a link between the bowel and the brain.

Hall says constipation can be one of the very first symptoms of the disease, showing up as early as 10 years before a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

“The microbiome, or bacteria composition in the bowel, is abnormal in Parkinson’s disease. We’re trying to understand if the same microbiome abnormalities are happening even earlier, before diagnosis. If you can diagnose that early, there may be an earlier time where you can intervene in the disease.”

For the study, prebiotic bars were included in a patient’s diet to see if it impacts Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Prebiotic fibers change the microbiome and this study looked into the utility of prebiotic fibers for use in PD patients.

The research involved both patients who were newly diagnosed and not yet medicated and those who were more advanced in the disease and actively receiving treatment.

Patients with a more advanced form of Parkinson’s showed a decrease in the severity of GI symptoms.

Constipation is one of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. It occurs sometimes due to a leaky bowel that can happen due to a bacterial infection.

To help reduce inflammation and address the leaky gut, more good bacteria need to be introduced. That’s where prebiotics come in.

Prebiotics help good bacteria grow in the gut. They have short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which serve as a food source for good bacteria. Eating prebiotic compounds can help increase the good bacteria. The good bacteria help reduce inflammation in the intestine and normalize the leaky bowel.

“It’s not a medicine, it’s not a surgical intervention, it’s easy,” Hall says.

More work needs to be done to see whether a patient’s motor symptoms improve with the bar. And a larger study would help delve further into symptom improvements.

Hall says the study will open many doors for more research that can help more Parkinson’s disease patients have a higher quality of life.

The study is available in Nature Communications.

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