Men who suffer from constipation are more likely to get diagnosed with the progressive brain disease Parkinson's. Scientists have little idea why this should be the case, although some have suggested that the disease may have some effect on the function of the gut long before it manifests itself elsewhere.
Constipation was defined as having less than one bowel movement a day - approximately 5% of the population are thought to be affected to this degree. Men who were constipated were 2.7 times more likely to develop Parkinson's as men who had an average of one bowel movement per day.
The researchers took into account differences between the men in terms of age, coffee smoking, laxative use and intake of fruit, vegetables and grains.Dr Abbott said: "Adjustments for those factors made no change in the results - the strong tie between bowel movement frequency and the risk of Parkinson's disease remained."
However, the fact that relatively few people develop Parkinson's means that most people with constipation will never get it.
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