What If I Carry The Gene
There are ongoing clinical trials testing therapies to treat people who have Parkinson’s and carry certain gene mutations. Proving that it can be important to know which gene mutation you carry. Consult with your doctor when considering a genetic test to determine if you are eligible to participate in gene-based clinical trials.
The Parkinsons Foundation study, PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinsons Disease, is the first national study to offer genetic testing and counseling at no cost for those with a confirmed Parkinsons diagnosis. Learn more and enroll at Parkinson.org/PDGENEration.
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Can Parkinsons Be Passed From Parent To Child
Its rare for Parkinsons disease to be passed down from parent to child. Most cases of Parkinsons arent hereditary. But people who get early-onset Parkinsons disease are more likely to have inherited it.
Having a family history of Parkinsons disease may increase the risk that youll get it. This means that having a parent or sibling with Parkinsons slightly increases the risk.
In most cases, the cause of Parkinsons disease remains unknown. But researchers have identified multiple risk factors that can increase your chances of getting this disease.
Risk factors for Parkinsons disease include:
- mutations in specific genes associated with Parkinsons
- having a family history of Parkinsons or a first-degree family member with Parkinsons
- being older, especially above the age of 60
- exposure to herbicides and pesticides
- being assigned male at birth
- history of brain injury
Overcoming Parkinson’s Disease Denial
Overcoming Parkinson’s Disease Denial
Imagine going to the doctor because you are suffering from a slew of odd symptoms that youve never experienced before shaky hands, body stiffness, slowed movement and more. Your primary care physician recommends you visit a neurologist, which increases your anxiety. After multiple tests, you leave with a diagnosis of Parkinsons disease, a chronic disorder that can greatly affect your quality of life.
This scenario is all too real for more than 200,000 people each year in the United States. Unfortunately, instead of pursuing the necessary treatment following the diagnosis, many of these people go into denial and refuse to accept the truth of their new health condition.
Can Agent Orange Be Passed Down
There is currently no definitive evidence that a fathers exposure to Agent Orange exposure causes birth defects. However, an analysis of Agent Orange registry data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs suggests a link between males exposure to Agent Orange and having children with certain birth defects.
Then, What is the disability rating for Agent Orange?
The VA rates active cancer at the 100 percent disability rating, but many other conditions can be linked to Agent Orange which can receive their own rating. You can receive additional money if you have a spouse, children, or dependent parents.
Who qualifies for Agent Orange benefits? In order to qualify for benefits, the following conditions must become noticeable to a degree of 10 percent or more within one year of the last date of exposure to Agent Orange: Chloracne. Porphyria cutanea tarda. Early-onset peripheral neuropathy.
Keeping this in consideration, How old would a Vietnam vet be today?
Of the 2,709,918 Americans who served in Vietnam, Less than 850,000 are estimated to be alive today, with the youngest American Vietnam veterans age approximated to be 60 years old. So, if youre alive and reading this, how does it feel to be among the last 1/3rd of all the U.S. Vets who served in Vietnam?
How Is Parkinsons Disease Diagnosed
Diagnosing Parkinsons disease is sometimes difficult, since early symptoms can mimic other disorders and there are no specific blood or other laboratory tests to diagnose the disease. Imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans, may be used to rule out other disorders that cause similar symptoms.
To diagnose Parkinsons disease, you will be asked about your medical history and family history of neurologic disorders as well as your current symptoms, medications and possible exposure to toxins. Your doctor will look for signs of tremor and muscle rigidity, watch you walk, check your posture and coordination and look for slowness of movement.
If you think you may have Parkinsons disease, you should probably see a neurologist, preferably a movement disorders-trained neurologist. The treatment decisions made early in the illness can affect the long-term success of the treatment.
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Genetic Risk For Parkinson’s Disease
If you have a genetic mutation associated with Parkinson’s, will you get the disease? Not necessarily. Some mutations carry a greater risk, but none bring a 100 percent chance of developing Parkinson’s disease. There are many Parkinson’s risk genes where a mutation means a very small increased likelihood of Parkinson’s. Researchers are looking for other factors that either push or protect someone with a gene mutation to or from having Parkinson’s. Your doctor and/or a genetic counselor can discuss the risk associated with different Parkinson’s genes and what your results may mean for you and your loved ones.
What Are The Different Stages Of Parkinsons Disease
Each person with Parkinsons disease experiences symptoms in in their own unique way. Not everyone experiences all symptoms of Parkinsons disease. You may not experience symptoms in the same order as others. Some people may have mild symptoms others may have intense symptoms. How quickly symptoms worsen also varies from individual to individual and is difficult to impossible to predict at the outset.
In general, the disease progresses from early stage to mid-stage to mid-late-stage to advanced stage. This is what typically occurs during each of these stages:
Early symptoms of Parkinsons disease are usually mild and typically occur slowly and do not interfere with daily activities. Sometimes early symptoms are not easy to detect or you may think early symptoms are simply normal signs of aging. You may have fatigue or a general sense of uneasiness. You may feel a slight tremor or have difficulty standing.
Often, a family member or friend notices some of the subtle signs before you do. They may notice things like body stiffness or lack of normal movement slow or small handwriting, lack of expression in your face, or difficulty getting out of a chair.
Standing and walking are becoming more difficult and may require assistance with a walker. You may need full time help to continue to live at home.
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How Does Environment Come Into It
Your environment is a hard one to pin down. Partly, that’s because it covers a lot of ground. It’s everything that’s not your genes, which could mean where you live, what you eat, chemicals you’ve come into contact with, and more.
Not only that, but it could take years for the effects from something in your environment to show up. So far, doctors have a lot of clues but no smoking gun. So you could have people who live or work in an area around chemicals tied to Parkinson’s, but many of them don’t get it.
Some research shows links between Parkinson’s and:
- Agent Orange, a chemical used to destroy trees and crops in the Vietnam War.
- Certain chemicals used in farming, such as insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
- Some metals and chemicals used in factories, such as manganese, lead, and trichlorethylene .
These can come into play based on where you live, what you do for work, or if you served in the military. Sometimes, these chemicals seep into well water, so that’s one more way they can affect you.
Genetic Testing And Parkinson’s
Research suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors leads to the development of Parkinsons in most cases. Research continues to determine how these factors interact, and the extent to which each is involved. Current research suggests that only about five percent of cases of Parkinsons can be definitely linked to a genetic cause.
Although there are a few families in which more than one person develops Parkinsons, it is rare for the condition to be passed from one generation to the next. Most research suggests that the condition develops as a result of genetic susceptibility and an external trigger, such as environmental chemicals. Exactly how this happens is not yet clear.
Researchers have so far identified a number of genes that seem to be linked to Parkinsons, including the parkin, PINK1, PARK7, SNCA and LRRK2 genes. It is important to note, however, that a mutation of one of these genes does not necessarily mean that the condition will develop.
Genetic testing for several Parkinsons genes is now quite widely available. From a medical point of view, this can help to confirm a diagnosis of Parkinsons. However, the decision to undergo genetic testing needs to be made carefully, as it may have implications for other family members. Knowing there is an increased risk of developing Parkinsons may cause unnecessary worry in people who may never go on to develop the condition.
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What Tests Diagnose Parkinsons Disease
There currently are no tests that can definitively diagnose Parkinsons Disease. A diagnosis is based on the clinical findings of your physician in combination with your report on the symptoms you are experiencing.
In situations where an older person presents with the typical features of Parkinsons and they are responsive to dopamine replacement therapy, there is unlikely to be any benefit to further investigation or imaging.
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What Genes Are Linked To Parkinson’s Disease
In 1997, we studied a large family that came from a small town in Southern Italy in which PD was inherited from parent to child . We found the gene that caused their inherited Parkinson’s Disease and it coded for a protein called alpha-synuclein. If one studies the brains of people with PD after they die, one can see tiny little accumulations of protein called Lewy Bodies . Research has shown that there is a large amount of alpha-synuclein protein in the Lewy Bodies of people who have non-inherited PD as well as in the brains of people who have inherited PD. This immediately told us that alpha-synuclein played an important role in all forms of PD and we are still doing a lot of research to better understand this role.
Currently, seven genes that cause some form of Parkinson’s disease have been identified. Mutations in three known genes called SNCA , UCHL1 , and LRRK2 and another mapped gene have been reported in families with dominant inheritance. Mutations in three known genes, PARK2, PARK7 , and PINK1 have been found in affected individuals who had siblings with the condition but whose parents did not have Parkinson’s disease . There is some research to suggest that these genes are also involved in early-onset Parkinson’s disease or in dominantly inherited Parkinson’s disease but it is too early yet to be certain.
Ological Limitations Of The Diagnostic Studies
When interpreting the literature about diagnosis, the following methodological issues should be considered:
- lack of long-term prospective clinical and pathological as a reference standard
- lack of operational definitions such as defining specialists or clinical diagnostic criteria
- unclear whether investigators were blinded to initial diagnosis
- sample sizes necessarily limited by the number of cases available with neuropathological outcomes
- trial age groups are often young as studies were performed by neurologists who see a younger population of people with PD
- most studies included people with established disease lasting some years
- varying geographical locations
- some studies are in specialised units and may not reflect the diagnostic accuracy of other units in the UK
- exclusion of some studies using magnetic resonance volumetry and magnetic resonance spectroscopy as they lacked appropriate population, intervention and outcome criteria
- lack of statistical details of diagnostic accuracy such as sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive values
- lack of economic evaluations of SPECT.
What Are The Surgical Treatments For Parkinsons Disease
Most patients with Parkinsons disease can maintain a good quality of life with medications. However, as the disease worsens, medications may no longer be effective in some patients. In these patients, the effectiveness of medications becomes unpredictable reducing symptoms during on periods and no longer controlling symptoms during off periods, which usually occur when the medication is wearing off and just before the next dose is to be taken. Sometimes these variations can be managed with changes in medications. However, sometimes they cant. Based on the type and severity of your symptoms, the failure of adjustments in your medications, the decline in your quality of life and your overall health, your doctor may discuss some of the available surgical options.
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Can Frontotemporal Dementia Be Inherited
Sometimes, yes. FTD is relatively rare compared with Alzheimers disease or vascular dementia, but it can be passed on directly from parent to child. A diagnosis of FTD can therefore cause a great deal of worry to someone who has children or grandchildren.
Most FTD is not directly inherited, but about 40 per cent of people who develop the condition will have at least one close relative diagnosed with some kind of dementia. This can include FTD, Alzheimers disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis . In general, the greater the number of relatives who have had dementia particularly FTD or ALS the greater the chances of developing familial FTD.
Of the different types of FTD, the behavioural form is the one that is inherited most often. The type of FTD which starts as primary progressive aphasia is only rarely inherited.
There are lots of different genes causing familial FTD, each with its own pattern of inheritance. If you are concerned about either passing on an FTD gene or inheriting the disease from your parents, you can ask your GP to refer you to a genetic testing service in your area. These people are specially trained to guide you through the process of finding out whether you have a gene that causes FTD. You can also get in touch with a specialist support group at Rare Dementia Support, who can provide information and advice about how to cope with having a heritable form of FTD in your family.
Deep Brain Stimulation Treatment
Deep brain stimulation is a neurosurgical procedure introduced in 1987. It consists of implanting a neurostimulator , which uses implanted electrodes to send electrical impulses to specific areas of the brain to treat movement disorders and neuropsychiatric disorders. DBS modifies brain activity in a controlled fashion and the effects are reversible.
The stimulation of certain areas of the brain has been shown to be beneficial for some disorders arising from Parkinsons disease that do not respond well to other treatments, including essential tremor, dystonia, chronic pain, major depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Despite the long history of this treatment, the basic mechanism of DBS is still not clear.
Although DBS has proven effective for some patients, it is a high-risk procedure that carries with it the possibility of serious complications and side effects.
A deep brain stimulation system consists of three parts: an implantable pulse generator , the lead, and the extension. All three parts are surgically implanted inside the body.
DBS cannot cure Parkinsons disease, but it can help to manage some symptoms. Its effect on the brain cell and neurotransmitter physiology is currently the topic of much debate, but by sending high-frequency electrical impulses into specific areas of the brain, it can mitigate symptoms and decrease the side effects caused by Parkinsons drugs, making it possible to reduce medications or adopt a more tolerable treatment regimen.
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What Else Do We Know
As scientists try to learn what’s at the root of Parkinson’s, they’re looking far and wide to pick up clues where they can.
They’ve found that people with Parkinson’s tend to have something called Lewy bodies in their brain. These are unusual clumps of a protein called alpha-synuclein. The protein itself is normal, but the clumps are not. And they’re found in parts of the brain that affect sleep and sense of smell, which could explain some symptoms of Parkinson’s not related to movement.
Your gut may also have a part in it, as some of its cells make dopamine, too. Some doctors think that this might be where the earliest signs of Parkinson’s show up, but that idea needs more research.
Genes That Reduce Parkinsons Risk
Most of the time genetics is referred to in relation to increase in risk, however there are also genetic changes that can decrease risk of Parkinsons.
People with Parkinsons have helped researchers find Parkinsons risk genes. But to find protective genes we need to look at people who havent developed the condition. The best possible group to study to find protective genes are those who carry a risk gene but do not develop Parkinsons in their lifetime. Something hidden in them is protecting them from the condition if we can find it, this could help researchers design therapies to protect others.
Research into protective genes in Parkinsons is still in its early stages, but in other conditions some genes have already been identified. For example scientists at Harvard discovered that a protein called REST can protect people from dementia. Similarly variants of other genes have been found to protect against heart disease and type 2 diabetes. These findings could help scientists develop new therapies that have the potential to treat and even protect people from various conditions.
In 2015, Parkinsons UK awarded a Dr Emmanouil Metzakopian of the Sanger Institute in Cambridge a fellowship award for a research project that aims to understand more about why some people get Parkinsons while others dont. Using cells grown in the lab and specially designed viruses, the team have individually changed single genes inside brain cells. Emmanouil explains more:
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