Scientists Find Link Between Parkinson's Disease and the Appendix

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In their study, people whose appendix had been removed were less likely to develop the neurodegenerative disease.

In Parkinson's disease, toxic proteins accumulate in the brain and kill nerves, especially those linked to movement.

The tiny appendix may be a hidden source of risk for the onset of Parkinson's disease and its removal reduces by 25% the risk of this incurable neurological disorder, according to a new global scientific research, the largest of its kind to date. However, Labrie warned that appendectomy does not guarantee that a person will not be diagnosed with Parkinson's.

Research suggests that severing this nerve may prevent sticky clumps of a protein called alpha-synuclein, from spreading to the brain, reducing the Parkinson's risk.

This is amounts to a 16.9% decrease in the odds of acquiring the disease-but in absolutes, that's the difference between an 0.14 per cent chance of acquiring the disease for those who hadn't gotten their appendix removed versus an 0.11 per cent chance for those who had.

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The study showed that nearly everyone in this study had alpha-synuclein protein present in their appendix. NutraIngredients reported previously on the theory that gut microbes may trigger Parkinson's disease.

"Our results point to the appendix as a site of origin for Parkinson's and provide a path forward for devising new treatment strategies that leverage the gastrointestinal tract's role in the development of the disease", the study's lead author, Dr Viviane Labrie.

The researchers unexpectedly discovered the abnormal form of the α-synuclein protein, not only in the appendixes of Parkinson's patients, but also in healthy individuals. The researchers believe that Parkinson's might be triggered during the rare occurrence that the protein escapes the appendix. For those living in rural areas it was even more advantageous, as there was a 25-percent reduction in disease risk, the reveals.

The appendix has a reputation for being unnecessary, but it does play roles in the immune system, in regulating makeup of gut bacteria, and now this study shows it also plays roles in Parkinson's disease.

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