-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Five new genetic variants
believed to play a role in Parkinson's disease have been identified
It was long believed that Parkinson's disease was caused by
environmental factors. But since 2007, scientists have pinpointed
six genetic variants that may affect a person's risk of developing
the condition. This new study brings that to a total of 11 genetic
Andrew Singleton, of the National Institute on Aging at the U.S.
National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and an
international team of scientists conducted a meta-analysis of five
genome-wide association studies that were conducted in Europe and
the United States and covered about 7.7 million possible genetic
The analysis showed that 20 percent of people with the highest
number of the 11 identified gene variants were 2.5 times more
likely to develop Parkinson's disease than the 20 percent of people
with the least number of genetic risk factors.
The new findings are a starting point for further research into
how Parkinson's disease develops, said the researchers.
"The identification of additional common and rare risk variants for Parkinson's disease will probably revise our estimate of the genetic component of [the] disease upward," they concluded in their report.
The study was released online Feb. 2 in advance of publication
in an upcoming print issue of
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