Everyone has a community of microbes (microbiome), many of which are beneficial, living in the digestive tract (from mouth to bowel). Imbalance of the microbiome, sometimes imposters, may influence some human diseases.
In our clinic, the focus is Parkinson's disease (PD), its drivers, mediators and co-morbidities. 2017 marked the bicentenary of the first description of this disease; a rigid, brady/hypokinetic syndrome with a characteristic tremor and stooped posture. There have been few therapeutic milestones, the only major advance dates back to the 1960s (dopaminergic therapy).
Thinking back to mediators, the gut is also known as the ‘little brain’. The damage to nerve cells and build-up of irregular proteins found in the PD brain are also found within the gut, sometimes years before a clinical PD diagnosis has been made! Major clues of disease development may lie within the gut.
We realise a rethink was pivotal to answer, what causes this condition? We are stepping back to consider the entirety, by defining some of the jigsaw pieces and assembling other features with the aim of putting together the bigger picture. By definition PD is a neurodegenerative disorder, anything below the neck related to pathogenesis is often ignored. Our clinic has collated over two decades of research with the stance, PD is a systemic disease.
PhD student at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, King’s College London, and a Clinical Assistant at the Maudsley Hospital. PhD focused on looking at Helicobacter bacterial species in more detail, and asking if those infected with the bug progress further towards PD or tend to do worse. Involves developing a novel test to find out if individuals are infected with any of these Helicobacter species and eradicating it to observe if features of PD improve.
Postdoctoral bioengineer at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, King’s College London. Research focused on the design/engineering, application and validation of in-house devices capable of measuring different aspects of PD motor symptoms. Our research relies on the ability to measure symptoms of the disease objectively, assessing in extreme detail, the state of patients’ symptoms. Fluctuations of symptoms may otherwise go unnoticed as they are not always visible to the naked eye, but we have found these to be significant.
"I have a friend who suffers from Parkinson’s disease who is taking part in this research into the link between microbiome and Parkinson’s disease. I am contributing in a small way to this by acting as a volunteer control. This involves doing the same physical and mental tests as my friend in order to provide a comparison.
I have never been a good runner and this 10K run gives me the
incentive to improve my running while helping fund this important
The Gut-Brain Axis Clinic
We have a lot of ground to cover, but we have full confidence in the potential of our work to lead to new therapeutic strategies for PD. We are extremely grateful to the patients who work with us to achieve our research goals, and to demonstrate its capacity to improve the lives of those affected. Please help us achieve this with a donation!
Review Article: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13365-015-0357-8