herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Genes may play role in Parkinson's

Genes play a far bigger role in Parkinson's disease than was previously believed, new research suggests.

Five new genes linked to the disease have been identified by scientists, leading to a rethink about the biological causes of the condition.

Until about 15 years ago Parkinson's was thought to be triggered purely by environmental factors.

Scientists now know around 5pc of people with Parkinson's inherit genes which increase the risk of developing the disease.

Parkinson's occurs when a brain chemistry imbalance disrupts nerve pathways, leading to symptoms of shaking, slowness of movement and rigidity.

The new study was the largest in-depth investigation into the role of genes in Parkinson's ever conducted.

An international team of scientists from six countries scoured the DNA of 12,000 people with Parkinson's and more than 21,000 healthy participants looking for genetic differences between them.

hnews@herald.ie

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