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New genetics research could shed light on Parkinson's risk

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The results of a worldwide study into Parkinson’s could help revolutionise how the degenerative disease is treated, experts have said.

The major study, part-funded by Parkinson’s UK, looked at which variations in genes increase the risk of people developing the incurable brain condition.

“The results could unearth completely new ways to tackle the condition”

Claire Bale

Researchers looked at DNA from more than 100,000 people with and without the condition for the study.

They identified a further six sections of DNA to the 22 already known to increase the chance of a person having Parkinson’s.

The findings, published in Nature Genetics, could help scientists to find new pathways involved in brain cell death and lead to new ways to prevent and treat the condition.

Researchers said the new sections of DNA could now be studied to find how they contribute to the development of the Parkinson’s.

Claire Bale, research communications manager at Parkinson’s UK said: “This study is an important step in our mission to stop Parkinson’s in its tracks.

“We know people develop Parkinson’s when nerve cells in their brain die,” she said. “But we still don’t have a complete picture of the genetic fingerprints that are putting people at higher risk of developing the condition.

“We’re excited to see that this study has unearthed more genetic clues about who is at risk,” she added.

“The results could unearth completely new ways to tackle the condition, so we can stop the death of precious brain cells once and for all,” said Ms Bale.


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