Utrecht University PhD candidate Paula Perez Pardo has shown that certain nutritional supplements can inhibit the occurrence and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in mice. Although Parkinson’s disease is mainly known as a neurological disorder, patients also suffer from chronic digestive system complaints. These complaints often begin years before the motor system symptoms, such as shaking and slow movement, occur. With her research, Perez Pardo provides more proof for the relationship between the brain and the digestive system. She will defend her dissertation at Utrecht University on September 13.
There are more than 55,000 Parkinson’s disease patients in the Netherlands. Parkinson’s disease kills the brain cells that produce dopamine. Once 70% of these cells have died, patients begin to suffer from the motor system symptoms, such as shaking hands.
There is currently no medication for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Patients are administered Levodopa to increase the production of dopamine, which helps to reduce their motor symptoms, but they must constantly continue to take the drug, which has serious side effects such as involuntary movements, nausea and confusion.