April is Parkinson's Awareness Month: what you should know about it
Dante Labs is proud to support Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Being the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer, Parkinson is estimated to hit seven to ten million people worldwide.
But what is Parkinson and why has been April nominated as Parkinson’s Month? Here what you need to know.
What is Parkinson?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system, with unknown cause, that affects the motor system. It starts slowly with shaking, rigidity and difficulty walking and lately behavioral problems and dementia occur.
Due to the unknown cause, there is no cure, but treatment options can include medication and surgery because its complications can be serious and fatal.
Why is April the Month of Parkinson's Disease?April has been signed as Parkinson’s Awareness Month in order to honor people suffering this disease and their families and dedicated to advocating them.
You might not know but Parkinson has been named after Dr. James Parkinson, an English surgeon best known for this Essay on the Shaking Palsy, in which he describes a neurological condition that was later renamed as Parkinson.
And beside his name, Dr. James birthday marked April 11th as World Parkinson’s Day, thereby April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month.
Why a tulip as the official symbol of Parkinson?There is a specific story behind the famous symbol of Parkinson’s disease. In 1980, a Dutch horticulturist affected by Parkinson, gave birth to an amazing new species of tulip and named it after Dr. James Parkinson. Since then, the red tulip has been used to symbolize Parkinson’s disease.
The first steps to living well with ParkinsonHaving a great quality of life is not excluded. Important is to follow therapies and treatments with dopaminergic medications due to the low levels of dopamine that Parkinson’s patients have.
Nowadays scientists have identified therapies used to improve the disease’s symptoms, but they do not slow or arrest its progression.
About genetics and Parkinson's DiseaseMost cases of Parkinson disease probably result from a complex interaction of environmental and genetic factors. These cases are classified as sporadic and occur in people with no apparent history of the disorder in their family. The cause of these sporadic cases remains unclear.
Approximately 15 percent of people with Parkinson disease have a family history of this disorder. Familial cases of Parkinson disease can be caused by mutations in the LRRK2, PARK7, PINK1, PRKN, or SNCA gene, or by alterations in genes that have not been identified. Mutations in some of these genes may also play a role in cases that appear to be sporadic (not inherited).
Alterations in certain genes, including GBA and UCHL1, do not cause Parkinson disease but appear to modify the risk of developing the condition in some families. Variations in other genes that have not been identified probably also contribute to Parkinson disease risk.
It is well known that genetic changes influence the risk of developing the disorder. Many Parkinson disease symptoms occur when nerve cells (neurons) in the substantia nigra die or become impaired. Normally, these cells produce a chemical messenger called dopamine, which transmits signals within the brain to produce smooth physical movements. When these dopamine-producing neurons are damaged or die, communication between the brain and muscles weakens. Eventually, the brain becomes unable to control muscle movement.
Some gene mutations appear to disturb the cell machinery that breaks down (degrades) unwanted proteins in dopamine-producing neurons. As a result, undegraded proteins accumulate, leading to the impairment or death of these cells. Other mutations may affect the function of mitochondria, the energy-producing structures within cells. As a byproduct of energy production, mitochondria make unstable molecules called free radicals that can damage cells. Cells normally counteract the effects of free radicals before they cause damage, but mutations can disrupt this process. As a result, free radicals may accumulate and impair or kill dopamine-producing neurons.
Advantages of getting the Whole Genome Sequencing for Parkinson
It provides insight into the bigger picture.
Genetic testing will identify mutations and defects that cause insidious injuries not easily seen by other test techniques. Identifying whether you carry a genetic mutation your genetic mutation can help you determine if you are eligible to enroll in certain clinical trials, the correct one for you. Several ongoing clinical trials are already testing treatments for people who carry certain PD gene mutations in LRRK2 and GBA.
For individualized treatments. People with a specific genetic mutation will produce better responses and more effective therapies.
For your family
It offers you the chance to enlighten your family members of the potential predisposition: through precise genetic testing results; you can get a glimpse of the probability of a family member getting a given gene-linked disorder.
For the entire community
Understanding the connection between Parkinson's and genetics can help us understand how the disease develops and ultimately how it can be treated or cured.
Currently, genetic testing is available through your doctor for the genes: GBA, PARK7, SNCA, LRRK2, parkin and PINK1, while standard at-home tests only look for one of several changes in LRRK2 (G2019S) and GBA (N370S) and do not map the entire gene to look for other mutations.
Dante Labs Whole Genome Sequencing Test allows to map the entire genome.
Parkinson disease is thought to result from the effects of multiple genes as well as environmental risk factors. A combination of multiple factors is a key. Whole Genome Sequencing allows for quantitative polygenic risk score assessment.
- As Science advances, data can shed new lights on new parts of the genome.
- Since scientists are still discovering more PD-associated genes
Dante Labs for Parkinson's Awareness Month
Dante Labs decided to be involved in raising awareness of Parkinson’s disease.
In order to prevent it, our Parkinson-Alzheimer-Dementia report has been created for this scope. Our customer care service will be available to answer your questions and will help you understand the importance of genetic tests.
Being involved in raising awareness is extremely important because we can all make a difference.
Click here to learn more about Dante Labs DNA Tests and discover our Parkinson-Alzheimer-Dementia report here.