Parkinson’s researchers look for genetic connection to Ashkenazi Jews

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The second part of a study of Ashkenazi Jews who carry the LRRK2 gene, the most common genetic contributor to Parkinson’s disease, is underway in Boca Raton. Individuals of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) ancestry have a greater likelihood of having the gene than persons in the general population.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is looking for Ashkenazi Jews in South Florida who have Parkinson’s or do not have the disease, but have a blood relative with Parkinson’s.

The first part of the study was initiated last April to identify Ashkenazi Jews who carry the LRRK2 gene.

“We’ve really come to begin to understand that Parkinson’s disease seems to be another Jewish genetic disease,” said Dr. Stuart Isaacson, a Boca Raton neurologist whose Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center is conducting the study locally for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. “This changes the way we view Parkinson’s disease in general.”

Read the full, original story: Focus on Ashkenazi Jews in Parkinson’s study continues

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