A new study led by researchers from the National Institutes of Health details how a state-of-the-art gene chip led to the discovery of six new genetic risk factors for Parkinson’s disease, potentially providing a better understanding of the disorder and paving the way for new treatment strategies.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological disorder affecting more than 500,000 people in the U.S. Every year, approximately 50,000 more are diagnosed with the disorder, and these numbers are expected to increase along with the aging population.
The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is unclear. However, recent research has identified a number of genes believed to increase a person’s susceptibility to the disorder.
In this latest study, Singleton and colleagues set out to add to these findings by conducting a large-scale meta-analysis of existing genome-wide association studies, involving 13,708 individuals with Parkinson’s disease and 95,282 controls.
From their analysis – which tested more than 7.8 million genetic variants – the researchers identified 26 genetic variants that may increase a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s. In some cases, they found that individuals who possess these variants may be up to three times more likely to develop the disorder.
Read the full, original story: Six new genetic risk factors for Parkinson’s identified using gene chip