Watching a loved one suffer from the progression of Parkinson’s disease is a challenging experience, and with no clear cure, the challenge gets greater with time.
Risk factors and predisposition have been major focal points for researchers over the years in hopes that it will allow them to treat patients before the disease progresses.
Everyone at Connecticut Advocates for Parkinson’s is dedicated to searching for a cure, helping those that have Parkinson’s via outreach initiatives, and expanding clinical trial participation. CAP is excited to share updates and new information as it becomes available. Today, we share a new, groundbreaking discovery (conducted by 23andMe, Genentech, and the National Institute on Aging) showing further evidence of a genetic predisposition to Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder that affects movement. It’s a progressive condition, beginning first with difficulty in showing facial emotions and continuing with constant tremors and severely slowed movement. The disease develops when dopamine levels drastically decrease as dopamine-generating cells in the brain die. Researchers don’t know why the cells die, but as more do, motion becomes more seriously affected.
However, new research results from a genome-wide association study show that Parkinson’s disease may be connected to genetics. Results from this study conducted by 23andMe, Genentech, and the National Institute on Aging show that 17 previously undiscovered genetic variants are linked directly to Parkinson’s disease. By studying DNA samples from over 425,000 people, they were able to compare it against DNA from patients with Parkinson’s. Mutations in these genes provided evidence that some people may be genetically prone to developing Parkinson’s disease at some point in their life.
These genes are directly involved in the lysosomal and autophagy systems of the body, which are responsible for scanning cells, and then deciding which are unneeded and can be destroyed. This may be the reason that dopamine-producing cells are destroyed and also why damaged cells are not removed as the disease progresses. These genetic variants have become a significant point of interest for researchers going forward and provide major insight into better understanding Parkinson’s.
For those of you unfamiliar with CAP, we are a non-profit (501-c3) that offers positive support for People with Parkinson’s (PWP’s). Our mission is to expand outreach initiatives, promote patient group collaboration, offer wellness and educational opportunities and clinical trial participation. We strive to build a framework of cooperation and collaboration with the research, healthcare, and Pharmaceutical organizations. All too often, the people with Parkinson’s lack a voice with the very researchers who are trying to help them. Call (860) 266-6040, or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions, would like to become a member, or volunteer. Also, visit the CAP website and Facebook to learn more about their efforts.