Did you know that people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are 22 percent more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than people without the disease are. This might seem like a random fact or even an obscure piece of trivia, and at first glance, that’s exactly what it is. But researchers believe that this piece of information might actually benefit people with Parkinson’s in the future. The hope is that by looking at people with IBD a little more closely, cases of Parkinson’s can be detected much earlier in the life of the disease, and as a result, better and more accurate care can be given to these individuals, slowing down the spread of the disease.
This information was gathered by Danish researchers and was recently published in the journal Gut. Participants in the study were monitored for 40 years, and confirmed previous findings that there is a link between inflammation and Parkinson’s. Diseases like IBD, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease are chronic conditions, which means that they never go away, and they tend to appear early in someone’s lifetime. However, because they are so closely associated with Parkinson’s disease, researchers found over this 40 year period that they could more accurately predict when someone would develop Parkinson’s, and start treating the disease at an earlier point.
These kinds of relationships occur occasionally in the world of medicine. Sometimes they are very helpful, sometimes they are not. The hope is that this information can somehow be applied in future settings to help doctors more effectively treat Parkinson’s, giving more help and love to the individual and their families that are suffering from this disease.
Having a loved one with Parkinson’s is tough. It is hard on them as they adjust to the challenges and changes to their lifestyle, but it’s also hard on family members. Support and care is needed, and can often be found much more easily than you might imagine. For example, if you have ever helped a loved one out with their senior care, you know that this can be mentally and physically exhausting. Having a professional on your side to either help for several hours a week, or just to fill in once in a while as a respite caregiver, can be a great idea. It’s not right for every situation, but in many, hiring a caregiver could help you to get some rest and provide your loved one with better care as a result. Feel free to contact us with questions about how this works if it fits your family’s needs.
For now, this study will not have an immediate impact on the lives of people suffering from Parkinson’s, but it might in the future. Keeping tabs on the latest in research might not always be encouraging, but this particular study does bring some long term hope that better and more efficient methods of helping seniors suffering from chronic cognitive disorders is on the way. It might not be here in time to help our parents, but it is coming. That is exciting news.