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International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
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Three months of probiotic therapy shown to reduce motor and nonmotor Parkinson’s disease symptoms

August 27, 2023

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – Probiotics may be a viable therapeutic avenue for PD patients suffering from prolonged ‘off’ periods, constipation and sleep deficits, according to a multicenter randomized controlled trial released today at the International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders® in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

After 12 weeks of probiotic therapy, shallow shotgun sequencing revealed an increased occurrence of beneficial flora, while UPDRS scores demonstrated a significant reduction in motor (i.e., ‘time to on’) and nonmotor (i.e., gastrointestinal, sleep/fatigue) symptoms.   

The human body hosts millions of microbes, and many scientists support the idea that the species that populate our bodies matter on a molecular level because of their integration into our metabolic processes. Probiotic therapy is rooted in the idea that the intentional introduction of ‘good’ bacteria could help regulate metabolites that may be intrinsically linked to disease processes.   

“Recently, there has been an increasing interest and broadening scope of research investigating the relationship between gut dysbiosis—an imbalance in the composition of gut bacteria—and the intricate interactions of the ‘gut-brain’ axis in the context of Parkinson's disease (PD),” said Veronica Bruno, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Calgary. “The article by Leta et al. stands out as a significant contribution to this area of study, aiming to understand the impact of a four-strain probiotic on gut dysbiosis, motor symptoms and non-motor symptoms in PD patients with constipation. The authors' conclusion highlights that the four-strain probiotic effectively enhances gut microbiota, improves ‘time to on’ and alleviates the burden of non-motor symptoms among PD patients with constipation.  

“While the implications of the observed changes in gut microbiota remain a captivating realm for further investigation, a particularly noteworthy finding revolves around the reduction in the ‘time to on’ observed within the active treatment group. People living with Parkinson's disease frequently express their frustration and challenges arising from the delay in the effectiveness of their medication. This delay can result in periods of diminished mobility, tremors and other disruptive symptoms that affect their daily routines. The identification that the four-strain probiotic contributes to shortening this ‘time to on’ phase holds promise for substantial enhancements in patients' lives by diminishing these difficult ‘off’ intervals and enhancing overall well-being.  

“Research efforts like the current study, enabled by a robust multicenter randomized controlled trial design, are pivotal in generating evidence-based solid treatments. This is especially vital for addressing specific PD non-motor symptoms that have historically received less attention. The discoveries arising from this study emphasize the need for further research, including efforts focused on confirming the lasting sustainability of the observed effects and revealing the underlying mechanisms at play.” 

Full text of this abstract will be available at (Reference #84) after the embargo lifts August 27, 2023, 08:00 CEST. 

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About the 2023 MDS International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders®:  
The MDS International Congress is the premiere annual event to advance the clinical and scientific discipline of Movement Disorders, including Parkinson’s disease. Convening thousands of leading clinicians, scientists and other health professionals from around the globe, the International Congress will introduce more than 1,800 scientific abstracts and provide a forum for education and collaboration on latest research findings and state-of-the-art treatment options. 

About the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society: 
The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society® (MDS), an international society of more than 11,000 clinicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. For more information about MDS, visit

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