Semester of Graduation
First Major Professor
Master of Science (MS)
Parkinson's Disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, with 1-2% of the population over 65 years old being diagnosed with PD. The exact causes of Parkinson's disease are not known, but only 10% of cases are hereditary, pointing to environmental factors as being a large cause. Currently, more research is looking into potential connections between nutrition and Parkinson's Disease development. It is thought that alpha-synuclein aggregates may accumulate in the enteric nervous system and travel to the central nervous system by way of the Vagus nerve. These alpha-synuclein aggregates are considered the cardinal neuropathological feature of Parkinson's disease and may be the result of an unbalanced microbiome. An unbalanced microbiome may come from unbalanced nutrition, illness, medication, or age. Current treatment of Parkinson's disease is Levodopa, but this treatment does not help alleviate all the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Balanced nutrition may be able to help treat additional symptoms and may even help slow the progression of PD. There are inconsistent results on how nutrition may influence PD, but research is ongoing and shows that if nothing else, a balanced diet may help improve the quality of life of PD patients.
Reed, Alexandria, "The Gut-Brain Axis: How Nutrition Influences Parkinson's Disease Development" (2020). Creative Components. 541.