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AD/PD 2023 | What is the significance of gastrointestinal involvement in Parkinson’s disease?

Dag Nyholm, MD, PhD, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, discusses the significance of the gastrointestinal (GI) system in Parkinson’s Disease (PD) pathogenesis and progression. Many non-motor symptoms of PD are attributed to GI dysfunction, such as constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, and sialorrhea. Malabsorption of levodopa, the gold-standard drug for managing PD symptoms, may also occur due to defects of the GI system. Some hypotheses implicate the GI tract as a possible starting point of PD pathogenesis, with alpha-synuclein spreading from the gut to the brain. To better understand this, Prof. Nyholm is currently conducting research into the prodromal phase of PD where patients see GI-related symptoms months and even years before developing classical motor symptoms. There are also ongoing studies looking at the role of the gut microbiota. This interview took place at the AD/PD™ 2023 congress in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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Prof. Nyholm has received grant support from EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND), Swedish Brain Foundation, Swedish Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, Swedish Research Council, Vinnova (Sweden’s Innovation Agency); consultancy fees from Britannia, Medtronic, NeuroDerm, NordicInfu Care, Orion, Stada; lecture fees from AbbVie and Britannia; remuneration for participating in expert panels at the websites and; and publishing royalties from Liber AB. He has participated as an investigator in clinical trials sponsored by Dizlin, GSK, Integrative Research Labs, Ipsen, Lobsor, Neurolixis, Sensidose, Solvay/Abbott/AbbVie.