Link between Parkinson's and the appendix

A new study, published today in Science Translational Medicine, shows that Parkinson's may start in the appendix and an appendectomy lowers the risk of developing the neurological condition. 

Commenting on the study, Claire Bale, Head of Research at Parkinson's UK, said:

"The finding that removing the appendix early in life can reduce risk of Parkinson’s suggests that it may play a contributing role in the loss of brain cells. This builds on previous research indicating that, for some, Parkinson's starts in the gut.

"There is much still to learn about how surgical approaches, such as removing the appendix, may stop the progression of toxic proteins that cause Parkinson's. However, these approaches are unlikely to eliminate the condition, as Parkinson's may also start in other areas of the body or brain.

"In most cases, the causes of Parkinson's are a mystery. But understanding how the condition starts and progresses is the first step to stopping it. If we can couple this understanding with tests that detect the earliest changes and treatments that can stop it progressing, we will have a real pathway to preventing Parkinson's."

ENDS

For more information please contact: 

Molly Horsburgh, Senior Media and PR Officer, Parkinson’s UK:  
0207 963 9351 or 07961 460248 (out of hours)

About Parkinson's UK

Every hour, 2 people are told they have Parkinson's.

It affects 145,000 people in the UK – which is around 1 in 350 of the population.

Parkinson's is a degenerative neurological condition, for which there currently is no cure. The main symptoms of the condition are tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity. 

Parkinson's UK is the UK's leading charity supporting those with the condition. Its mission is to find a cure and improve life for everyone affected by Parkinson's through cutting edge research, information, support and campaigning.