NEW YORK, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Changes in the type and number of bacteria in people's guts may help determine whether they will develop Parkinson's disease, according a new study published in the Cell journal.
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology find that mice genetically programmed to develop Parkinson's disease developed symptoms only if they had bacteria in their stomachs.
Symptoms worsened when mice were dosed with microbes taken from people with Parkinson's disease but not when they got samples from healthy people, according to the study.
The study does not show that gut microbes cause Parkinson's disease, but it may suggest a way to treat the incurable condition, which affects up to 10 million people worldwide, said an NBC report.
"I think it is going to be one of these groundbreaking pieces of research," James Beck, vice president for scientific affairs at the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, was quoted as saying.
While the findings need to be confirmed in people, the researchers hope that drugs work in the digestive system or even probiotics may become new therapies for the disease, said a BBC report.
"There are still many questions to answer, but we hope this will trigger more research that will ultimately revolutionize treatment options for Parkinson's," Arthur Roach from the charity Parkinson's UK was quoted as saying by the BBC.