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15th May 2024 Latest News Parkinson’s

Faecal transplants to help ease symptoms for Parkinson’s

Rob Bryant

People living with Parkinson’s may have a new and unlikely way to help manage their debilitating symptoms, which is linked with their gut.

A group of Adelaide researchers have investigated the safety and tolerability of manipulating the gut’s bacterial population (also known as the gut microbiome) in the hope of improving Parkinson’s symptoms.

The recently completed trial, which investigated whether faecal transplants could be a feasible way of replenishing healthy gut bacteria in the hope of improving Parkinson’s symptoms, has found some promising results.

This trial is the result of an exciting collaboration between leading Australian biotechnology company BiomeBank; the Departments of Neurology, Nuclear Medicine and Gastroenterology within The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH) and Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH); and The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) Group.

There has been increasing evidence showing the link between Parkinson’s and gut health. Constipation affects 90 per cent of people living with Parkinson’s, and recent research has also indicated the microbiome within the gut may influence the response to existing therapies for the disease.

Associate Professor Robert Bryant (pictured above), co-founder and VP of Translational Medicine at BiomeBank and gastroenterologist at TQEH has shared some preliminary findings from the trial.

“We’ve had some exciting results from our trial including a decrease in symptoms such as depression and fatigue and an increase in quality of life and improved sleep after an initial course of faecal microbiota transplant therapy,” A/Prof Bryant said.

“Although we are still in the very early stages of finding out the effectiveness of faecal transplants, these preliminary findings are quite exciting for us.”

Dr Thomas Kimber

Co-researcher Dr Thomas Kimber, Neurologist at the RAH agreed: “This study’s results are preliminary, but we found signs of significant improvement in participants’ quality of life scores after 2 months’ treatment with faecal transplants.”

“We believe our findings are encouraging and support ongoing research into faecal transplants as a potential new approach for the management of Parkinson’s symptoms.”

A/Prof Bryant and Dr Kimber are grateful for the financial backing of leading Adelaide businessman Kevin Weeks, who lives with Parkinson’s and is on the Board of THRF Group charity Parkinson’s SA.

“I funded this trial because I want to back research that produces immediate improvements for people living with Parkinson’s.”

We look forward to sharing where these results take A/Prof Bryant and Dr Kimber.

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