Experts have reached a scientific conclusion that Parkinson’s disease may be linked to the appendix, as they found that those who had their appendix removed were less susceptible to the disease.
Researchers in Belgium and the United States examined medical records of around 25,000 Parkinson’s patients and found that patients who suffered from constipation and irritable bowel syndrome were twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease compared to those without these symptoms.
The results indicated that those who had their appendix removed were 52% less likely to develop the disease.
Experts said that the study suggests that the appendix is a root cause of Parkinson’s disease, although further studies are needed to confirm this result.
The experts found that constipation, difficulty swallowing, and gastric bloating, a condition that slows down the movement of food to the small intestines, were all linked to doubling the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease in the five years before diagnosis.
Patients with irritable bowel syndrome were 17% more at risk.
Claire Bale, Assistant Director of Research at Parkinson’s UK, stated, “The findings add further momentum to the hypothesis that gut problems could be an early sign of the disease.”
She added, “Understanding how and why gut issues emerge in the early stages of Parkinson’s could open up opportunities for early detection and treatment methods that target the gut to improve symptoms and even slow or halt disease progression.”
The UK’s National Health Service states that there are three key signs of the condition:
Involuntary shaking of certain body parts, known as tremors.
Muscle rigidity and loss of flexibility.
The guidelines also state that individuals with this condition may also experience a wide range of other physical and psychological symptoms, including: