New Research Reaffirms Genetic Parkinson's Link

BOSTON-People who have family members with Parkinson's disease are more likely to develop the disease themselves, new research showed this week.

Scientists in Iceland took 772 people affected by the disease and cross referenced their family history. The findings showed the disease is genetic in both forms.

The form of Parkinson's that strikes early in life was brought to national attention when actor Michael J. Fox announced he had been struggling with the disease for many years.

However, Parkinson's usually strikes people later in life.

The New England Journal of Medicine released the study, which states that genes contribute to the risk of getting both forms. The mutation of the gene is subtle, which is why researchers think Parkinson's frequently skips generations.

Research shows those with a sibling with Parkinson's are 6.7% more likely to also fall ill from the disease. Those with parents who have the disease are at a 3.2% higher risk to have Parkinson's.

What the research didn't find was a link between spouses and the disease, leading many to believe that Parkinson's is not caused by environmental factors, such as chemical exposure.

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