Parkinson's Diseases Specialist Derry NH
Accepting New Patients: Yes
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Pediatric Neurology, Sleep Medicine
Medical School: Harvard Med Sch, Boston Ma 02115
Graduation Year: 1969
Another Genetic Risk for Parkinson's
By Kathryn Ayers
A number of small studies have suggested that a mutation in the gene that produces the protein alpha-synuclein (SNCA) may play a role in the onset of the degenerative neurological condition known as Parkinson’s disease. Now a large multi-nation study confirms that the mutation can increase the risk of Parkinson’s by 50 percent. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic sifted data on some 2,700 Parkinson’s patients and an equal number of age- and sex-matched healthy individuals and determined that “the SNCA gene is not only a rare cause of autosomal dominant Parkinson’s disease in some families, but also a susceptibility gene for Parkinson’s disease at the population level.” People who have the misfortune of inheriting copies of the gene mutation from both parents—a rare occurrence—will contract Parkinson’s. In the more likely scenario, having only one copy of the mutation increases the risk of the disease, but the disease will only express itself in the presence of other genetic or environmental factors. The researchers estimate that the SNCA gene accounts for roughly 3 percent of all Parkinson’s cases—about the same, they say, “as the population effect of other common variants implicated in Parkinson’s disease.”
Author: Kathryn Ayers
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