4.6 Parkinson’s Disease and the Microbiome
THIS IS AN UNEDITED EARLY DRAFT. PLEASE DON’T RELY ON IT.
Parkinson’s disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that affects one in 100 people over age 60,
Although there is some evidence for a genetic component125, environment clearly plays a role as well – which of course, may point to microbes.
A 2017 review finds this:
Since 2015, six studies examining the gut microbiome in Parkinson’s disease (PD) have reported an increase in Akkermansia abundance in PD patients (e.g., Heintz-Buschart et al., 2017; Hill-Burns et al., 2017); indeed, elevated Akkermansia abundance appears to be the most consistently defining feature of the PD microbiome. Likewise, a 2017 study found elevated Akkermansia in individuals with rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, which is considered a pre-motor symptom of PD (Heintz-Buschart et al., 2017).
Is this observable in our samples?
“Patrick” is a confirmed Parkinson’s patient who sent me his microbiome test results. Let’s look first at the Genus overall picture:
How different is Patrick’s Akkermansia compared to everyone else?
How about me compared to my father and sister? (My brother, who I also tested, shows abundance of zero)
There are only 8 few samples involved here, and that one on the far right is just one of two from my sister and is therefore likely an anomaly. Still, if there were a big family component to this microbe, it certainly isn’t showing in this test. F
Let’s check the variability of my Akkermansia:
## 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% ## 0.000000 1.843725 4.010650 7.229650 37.161400
As you can see, my levels are consistently quite high, and sometimes extremely high.
A May 2019 study of 62 million electronic health records showed a slight increase in Parkinsons among people who had appendectomies126, but smaller studies showed a slightly lower risk.
Hard to say…