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Patrick Santens

Patrick Santens

Factoring in Food to Research Relating to Parkinson’s Disease

Patrick Santens works as a neurologist at UZ Gent and as a professor of neurology at Ghent University. He obtained his PhD in medical sciences in 2002 with a thesis on positron emission tomography (PET) of the brain in dementia, and he still specialises in the field of Parkinson’s disease and related disorders today. “But whereas 15 years ago our studies focused almost entirely on the brain,” Santens says, “they are now much broader in scope.”

“We suspect that a number of environmental factors, such as food, are also important. There has already been a lot of research that demonstrates a link between the intestines and the brain. And the same applies in the case of Parkinson’s: a patient’s microbiome is different to that of a healthy person.” Santens hopes that his research will eventually contribute to faster detection of Parkinson’s, “because this has also long ceased to be an old person’s disease. I recently saw a patient who is now 45 years old and has already had the disease for 10 years.”

UZGent - Patrick Santens

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