Could Parkinson’s disease start in the gut?

Parkinson’s disease may start in the gut and spread to the brain via the vagus nerve, according to a study. The vagus nerve extends from the brainstem to the abdomen and controls unconscious body processes like heart rate and food digestion.

Working human forebrain circuits assembled in a lab dish

Peering into laboratory glassware, researchers have watched stem-cell-derived nerve cells arising in a specific region of the human brain migrate into another brain region. This process recapitulates what’s been believed to occur in a developing fetus, but has never previously been viewed in real time.

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