Recent Review Finds Missing Data Defining Genetic Mutations Related to Parkinson’s Disease

According to a story from Parkinson’s News Today, a recent review of Parkinson’s disease research found that there is not enough data that explains the link between mutations of several genes and symptoms of the illness. Prior studies have found that mutations affecting the VPS35, SNCA, and LRRK2 genes are potential inherited causes of Parkinson’s disease.

About Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a type of long term, progressive, degenerative illness that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms tend to develop over a period of years and primarily affect the movement ability and mental state of the patient. The cause of Parkinson’s disease remains a mystery, although there are a number of risk factors that have been identified. These factors include head injuries, pesticide exposure, and certain genetic variants and mutations. About 15 percent of patients have a close relative with the disease, suggesting some genetic connection. Symptoms include slowed movements, poor coordination, trouble walking, shaking, stiffness, abnormal posture, depression, anxiety, inhibited thinking, hallucinations, and dementia. Treatment may involve a number of medications, rehabilitation, and surgical operations. Survival rate varies, but most patients survive around a decade after getting diagnosed. To learn more about Parkinson’s disease, click here.

About The Review

The review highlighted the need for more in-depth research of these mutations in order to more precisely determine how they are connected to the symptoms of the disease. The scientists were able to make a few determinations themselves during their review, however. They found that patients who carried the VPS35 mutation were likely to respond well to treatment with the popular Parkinson’s drug levodopa. In addition, those patients who had SNCA mutations were often younger than average when their symptoms began, and they also tended to present with more psychiatric symptoms compared to other patients.

It should be noted that many cases of Parkinson’s disease do not appear to have a readily identifiable cause. In fact, only about 34 percent of Parkinson’s cases can be explained by genetic variants like mutations. The review of the literature drew from a total of 199 studies that focused on genetic mutations related to Parkinson’s.

The review was originally published in the academic journal Movement Disorders.


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