Genetic variant 'protects against Parkinson's'

Posted on 01 September 2011

Scientists have identified a genetic variant which they believe protects against Parkinson's disease - a condition suffered by many paying for care.

Research from Mayo Clinic in Florida found that a variation on the gene LRRK2 cuts the risk of developing the neurodegenerative condition by some 20 per cent.

However, different variations on the same gene have been found to double Parkinson's risk in Caucasians and Asians, according to the study published in journal Lancet Neurology.

Lead investigator Owen Ross said that the notion of Parkinson's as a "random" and "sporadic" disease is altering.

"Our study, one of the largest to date in the study of the genetics of Parkinson's disease, shows that a single gene, LRRK2, harbours both rare and common variants that in turn alter the susceptibility to PD in diverse populations.," he continued.

This follows a stem cell breakthrough at the University of Edinburgh which could lead to new treatments for people with the condition.

Posted by Toby Mynott

 

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