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Is Parkinson’s Hereditary?

Thursday March 08, 2012

Scientists have discovered abnormal genes associated with Parkinson’s and have identified up to 18 gene loci (potential DNA sites) that may be involved.  These abnormal genes increase one’s risk but do not directly cause the disease.  It is thought that more than one factor (like environmental toxins) needs to also be present to develop the disease.  In most cases genetics testing is not typically performed, because the presence of an abnormal gene does not necessarily determine if one would get PD.

A family history of PD in a  first degree relative is seen in about 15% of people with PD. There is a 2x risk of developing PD if you have a family history of PD in a first degree relative. Although increased, this risk is still relatively low.

Check back later this year as more information will be posted by genetics experts in a future edition of the Wellness Center.

Monique L. Giroux, MDMonique L. Giroux, MD
Medical Director, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation

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