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AAN 2024 | Investigating the effect of a probiotic in patients with Parkinson’s disease

Proinflammatory alterations at the level of the gut have been identified in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), providing the rationale for several studies investigating the use of gut microbiome-modulating interventions. Valentina Leta, MD, King’s College Hospital & King’s College London, London, UK, shares details of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial that aimed to investigate the effect of a probiotic supplement in patients with PD and gastrointestinal symptoms (GI), such as constipation. Outcome measures included changes in the abundance of bacteria in the gut, serum inflammatory markers, and motor and non-motor symptoms. The probiotic increased the abundance of bacterial strains that produce anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids and reduced levels of the inflammatory marker TNF-alpha in the blood. Additionally, positive changes in motor and non-motor symptoms were observed, with a decreased ‘time to on’, decreased constipation, and improvements in sleep and fatigue. Dr Leta hypothesizes that this may be a result of improved transport and absorption of medication, such as levodopa, due to improved GI transit. Furthermore, the decrease in fatigue may have occurred as a result of reduced systemic inflammation. This interview took place at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting 2024 in Denver, CO.

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