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Abnormal genes could lead to Parkinson’s cure

Thursday December 22, 2005

12/12/05(Age Concern) - The discovery of genes that behave abnormally during the development of Parkinson’s disease could help create new treatments, scientists have said.

Researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Liege, Belgium, found 570 genes which act abnormally during the development of the condition.

They have suggested this could also help doctors predict the likelihood of the disease developing.

Parkinson’s is a brain disease which affects the body’s muscle control. Symptoms include trembling, difficulty walking and problems with balance and coordination.

During the study, the team used microarrays to look at the brains of Parkinson’s sufferers. Microarrays are chips able to detect which genes are active when different processes occur in the brain.

When the scientists looked at the brains of people with Parkinson’s, they found 570 out of the 25,000 genes behaved abnormally compared to people with healthy brains.

Dr Linda Moran from Imperial College, London, said: "This research shows there are a considerable number of genes associated with the development of Parkinson’s, potentially providing new clues for how to treat this disease."

The researchers added that it may be possible to manipulate the active genes in such a way that the development of the disease could be controlled.