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Understanding the role of appendix removal and risk for Parkinson’s
Why is it important?
- Novelty 75% 75%
- Proximity 90% 90%
- Deliverability 80% 80%
“This is a fascinating research report. And potentially a seminal paper, as it not only finds an association between the removal of the appendix and Parkinson’s (in people living in the rural environment at least), but also because it highlights the presence of misfolded alpha synuclein in the healthy appendix. And when extracted and administered to normal alpha synuclein, those misfolded versions of the protein cause the health proteins to misfold. Members of the Parkinson’s community need not rush out and order the removal of their appendices though. Firstly, this study has demonstrated an association, which does not necessarily indicate causation. In addition, this study potentially provides support for numerous ongoing clinical trials exploring different methods of removing misfolded alpha synuclein in people with Parkinson’s, some of which are focused on the gut (such as the RASMET study).”
Given its role in immune function, exposure to pathogens, and increasing evidence that misfolded alpha-synuclein – a major suspected pathological culprit in Parkinson’s – is also found in the gut, several studies have asked whether removal of the appendix affects the risk for Parkinson’s.
The researchers also reported that abnormally folded alpha-synuclein could be found in tissue samples of appendices from 46 out of the 48 healthy individuals who were biopsied, ranging in age from younger than 20 to 84 years old. They also found that when extracts of this appendix tissue was mixed with normal alpha-synuclein, the normal version of the protein became abnormally misfolded into the conformation that damages neurons in Parkinson’s.
Where can I learn more?
Palacios, N., Hughes, K. C., Cereda, E., Schwarzschild, M. A., & Ascherio, A. (2018). Appendectomy and risk of Parkinson’s disease in two large prospective cohorts of men and women. Mov Disord, 33(9), 1492-1496 – https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/mds.109
Svensson, E., Horvath-Puho, E., Stokholm, M. G., Sorensen, H. T., Henderson, V. W., & Borghammer, P. (2016). Appendectomy and risk of Parkinson’s disease: A nationwide cohort study with more than 10 years of follow-up. Mov Disord, 31(12), 1918-1922 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27621223