Parkinson’s Disease Genetic Research

Read the article from Jewish Daily Forward about Dr. Bressman's genetic research focusing on Parkinson's disease patients in the Ashkenazi Jewish population.

Is Parkinson’s Disease (PD) genetic?
We now know that at least some cases of PD are caused by genetic changes that are inherited. This can be true even in families where only one person has PD because many people who inherit a “PD gene” never develop symptoms. Why some people with a PD gene never develop symptoms is not known, but it may be due to other genetic or environmental factors. Identifying these modifying factors is one of our neurology center’s research goals. So far, several genes for PD have been identified, but most account for only a small proportion of PD that occurs in the population. One exception is the LRRK2 gene. About 2% of PD in people of European ancestry is due to LRRK2 gene changes. In those who have family history of PD, the percent is higher, 5 to 6%, and even higher in individuals with certain ethnic origins.

What is the purpose of the study being conducted at Mount Sinai Beth Israel?
Our neurology specialists want to learn more about the genetics of PD, so that we can move forward with identifying new therapies.

Who can participate?
To be eligible for the study, you need to have a diagnosis of PD or be a blood relative of someone with PD. We are currently seeking participants of Jewish ancestry, which means you have at least one Jewish grandparent. If you are not of Jewish ancestry but have PD and a family history of PD, you are eligible to participate as well.

How do I participate?
Participation involves filling out a questionnaire and donating a mouthwash or blood sample. You may also be “re-contacted” and asked whether you would be willing to complete additional questionnaires, have a neurological exam performed by one of our neurologists, and have a non-invasive ultrasound and/or neuroimaging. Participation in each part of the study is voluntary, and you may decline to participate in any part of the study at any time.

Is there a cost?
There is no cost to you for participating. If you need to make a special trip to Beth Israel’s neurology center or other collaborating site, we will reimburse you for transportation and/or parking.

Is the study confidential?
Yes. The information we obtain about you is kept in locked files. Our database is password protected and site limited, and only the Principal Investigator and other members of the research team have access to it.

Will I get results from my participation?
Because this is a research study you will not receive individual results, but we will apprise you of any major findings via letter or press release.

How will I benefit from the research?
Your participation will help contribute to our understanding of the causes of PD. The goal is to use this knowledge to develop new treatments and ultimately a cure for PD.

To learn more about participating in this study, please contact us:
(888) 228-1688
Mount Sinai Beth Israel
10 Union Square East, Ste 5J
New York, NY 10003
Attention: Deborah Raymond
Contact Us
Mirken Department of
Phillips Ambulatory
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10 Union Square East, Suite 5D
New York, NY 10003

Phone: (212) 844-8888
Fax: (212) 844-8481