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Parkinson’s disease: Method will help clinicians to estimate age of onset

parkinson's disease

Tanya P. Garcia, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, completed a new study in which researchers are working to develop a new method by which clinicians can estimate the age of onset for Parkinson’s disease in carriers of the PARK2 gene mutation. The results are published in this month’s Annals of Applied Statistics.

Garcia and her co-authors developed a new statistical method that quickly predicts valid ages of onset for different ages simultaneously. Garcia and co-authors found that individuals with two copies of the PARK2 mutation had a higher risk for early onset of the disease than individuals with only one PARK2 mutation. Such results suggest a recessive mode of inheritance for PARK2 gene mutations for early onset Parkinson’s disease. In addition, individuals with at least one copy of the PARK2 gene mutation tended to have an increased risk for early onset of the disease than the general population who is not at risk.

The findings may suggest that there are other genetic and environmental causes of Parkinson’s disease in early onset cases that are different than late onset.