You may have noticed a surge in stories about genetic testing and about specific genes that have been discovered to play a role in diseases. These discoveries, made mostly in the decade since the human genome was successfully sequenced, include 13 gene mutations that are associated with Parkinson's disease (PD).
Whether it is you or your loved one who is living with Parkinson's, you may be wondering how the new genetic discoveries will affect you and what they mean for your own risk or that of your children. In the long run, scientists hope that the knowledge provided by genetics will help us both to diagnose Parkinson's earlier and to slow or stop its progression. They also hope that genetic studies will help us better predict who is at risk for Parkinson's, so that interventions can take place before symptoms develop ? but we aren't there yet.