Genetic variation may determine physical symptoms in Parkinson’s patients

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Author: Parkinson's Life editorsPublished: 15 April 2016

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Researchers have discovered a site of genetic variation that determined which patients with Parkinson’s disease are more likely to have tremors versus those with difficulty with balance and walking.

The team of researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine and other institutions also found that patients with this genetic variation had a slower rate of disease progression, and lower amounts of alpha-synuclein in the brain – the protein that plays a role in the development of the condition.

Clinicians have long noted that the presence of tremors, rather than balance and walking problems, as the initial or dominant symptom of Parkinson’s may suggest slower progression of the disease. The study is one of the first to link this difference to a specific genetic variation.

Christine Cooper, lead researcher, said: “This finding gives us information for the first time that has implications for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and prevention efforts.”

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