SAN DIEGO — Patients who undergo appendectomy showed higher risk for developing Parkinson’s disease, according to data presented at Digestive Disease Week.
“One of the factors seen in [the] brain of patients with Parkinson’s disease is accumulation of an abnormal protein known as alpha-Synuclein is released by damaged nerve cells in the brain,” Gregory Cooper, MD, of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, said during a press conference held in advance of DDW. “It turns out that not only is alpha-Synuclein found in the brain of Parkinson’s disease. It’s also found in the GI tract. It’s thought that the accumulation in the GI tract occurs prior to the development of the accumulation in the brain.”
As previous research produced contradictory conclusions, Cooper and colleagues used the Explorus database to mine through diagnoses from 26 major health systems including more than 60 million patients.
The researchers identified about half a million patients who underwent an appendectomy and, of those, approximately 4,500 had a diagnosis of Parkinson’s at least 6 months after the appendectomy. In patients who had an appendectomy, the prevalence of Parkinson’s was about 0.9% compared with patients without an appendectomy where the prevalence was 0.3%, Cooper said.
“At virtually all ages, the prevalence of Parkinson’s was higher in patients who had an appendectomy ... compared to those who did not have an appendectomy,” Cooper said. “We looked at subgroups and you can see that regardless of racial group or gender, the prevalence of Parkinson’s was higher in patients who had an appendectomy vs. control.” – by Katrina Altersitz
Cooper G, et al. Abstract 739. Presented at: Digestive Disease Week; May 18-21; San Diego, California.
Disclosure: Cooper reports no relevant financial relationships.