Latest News in Parkinson Disease: Chronic Gut Inflammation, Defining Advanced Disease, and More

An overview of the latest news in Parkinson disease (PD) reported across MJH Life Sciences™.

An overview of the latest news in Parkinson disease (PD) reported across MJH Life Sciences.

Chronic Gut Inflammation Linked With Onset of PD

As reported by PharmacyTimes®, study findings published in Free Neuropathology indicated that chronic gut inflammation may trigger processes in the body that lead to the development of PD.

With findings derived from an experimental mouse model, investigators uncovered that chronic gut inflammation triggers alpha synuclein, a protein suggested to have a central role in the pathogenesis of PD, to clump together in walls of the colon and in local immune cells called macrophages.

Moreover, the study suggested that chronic inflammation in the gut early in life can exacerbate alpha synuclein clumping throughout the brain, as found in the mice models, which the investigators theorized may be caused by the movement of the inflammatory chemicals from the gut to the brain via the bloodstream or potentially through vagus nerve as well.

Panelists Discuss Defining Advanced PD

In a Peer Exchange series by NeurologyLive®, titled, “Recognizing and Managing Advanced Parkinson Disease,” panelists discussed the current definition of advanced PD and how this translates to recognizing and managing the disease.

Lacking an exact definition for advanced PD, current comprehension of the condition was noted to be characterized by several factors and symptoms that progress over time, particularly time spent with symptom control and time in the OFF state. Although advanced PD may be perceived by the duration of time spent since diagnosis, the panelists note that it should instead be according to the burden of motor and nonmotor symptom fluctuations.

In discussing the implications of each disease stage, one panelist highlighted that the key is to understand where each patient is in their disease process to match symptom burden with optimized treatment dosage.

How Income, Education Impacted Patient Telehealth Amid the Pandemic

In a Q&A with NeurologyLive®, James Beck, PhD, chief scientific officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation and an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, New York University School of Medicine, discussed notable challenges in health care utilization and access that patients with PD encountered amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the pandemic causing care delivery for patients with chronic diseases such as PD to transition to virtual appointments, Beck highlighted the technological barriers present for many patients who are typically in their mid-60s and above. In addition to the gap in technological prowess, a survey examining telehealth use in 1342 patients with PD revealed significant disparities based on income and education.

In the survey findings, the highest usage of telehealth was associated with patients who had a household income greater than $100,000 per year (odds ratio [OR], 1.54; 95% CI, 1.06-1.76) or a postsecondary education (OR, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.16-3.62). However, in assessing care utilization by patients, most used telehealth for doctor’s appointments rather than physical, occupational, or speech therapies, with mental health services indicated by those surveyed to be preferred in an in-person setting rather than a virtual setting post pandemic.