There is some exciting news coming from the Van Andel Research Institute. They have discovered, In the largest, most comprehensive study of its kind, has identified the appendix as a potential starting point for Parkinson’s disease.

A team of Van Andel Institute scientists, led by Dr. Viviane Labrie, has established the appendix as a reservoir for disease-associated proteins that play a major role in Parkinson’s onset and progression, and opens exciting new avenues for the development of potential new preventative and treatment measures.

The study was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Patrik Brundin, Dr. Lena Brundin, and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Bryan Killinger.

In a general population, people who had an appendectomy were 19 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s. This effect was magnified in people who live in rural areas, with appendectomies resulting in a 25 percent reduction in disease risk. Parkinson’s often is more prevalent in rural populations, a trend that has been associated with increased exposure to pesticides.

Obviously, more work need to be done, but what a medical breakthrough. We're proud of our Van Andel Institute.