For this research, scientists at Nagoya University in Japan analyzed the gut bacteria of people living with Parkinson’s. Some participants also had dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
Lewy bodies are abnormal deposits in the brain that affect thinking, memory, and overall cognitive function. A certain subset of people with Parkison’s develop DLB, but doctors are not yet able to predict who will and why.
Researchers found three bacteria, in particular, to be associated with DLB. They saw patients with DLB had an increase in bacteria genera called Collinsella and Ruminococcus, and a decrease in the genus Bifidobacterium. This finding could prove helpful for the prevention and treatment of Parkinson’s Disease and the associated DLB.
“The presence of intestinal bacteria unique to DLB may explain why some patients develop Parkinson’s disease and others develop DLB first,” Dr. Kinji Ohno, MD., PHD, a lead researcher on the study, said in a press release. “Normalizing the abnormal bacteria shared between DLB and Parkinson’s disease may delay the development of both diseases.”
“Improving the gut microbiota is a stepping stone in the treatment of dementia,” Ohno continued. “Our findings may pave the way for the discovery of new and completely different therapeutics.”