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Study uncovers key genes behind Parkinson's in young Indians

IANS Feb 07, 2024

 A team of scientists has identified key genes that raise the risk of Parkinson's disease in young Indians.

The team, led by Parkinson's Research Alliance of India (PRAI) and MedGenome, a global genomics company in South Asia, made a comprehensive analysis of rare and common genetic variations in the young Indian population which can enhance the understanding of the genetic basis of Parkinson's disease.

This also opens the door for the first-ever genetic screening in India for the disease in high-risk individuals and affected families, said the team of scientists in the paper published in the prestigious journal, Movement Disorders.

"Parkinson’s is not a single gene disease. It can occur due to multiple genetic mutations and multiple gene causes. Knowing what patients with Indian patients will have will have more impact in understanding and treatment of that," Dr Prashanth L.K., a specialist in movement disorders from PRAI, told IANS.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in adults in the age bracket of 60 years and above.

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study (2018), Parkinson's has doubled across the globe over the past two decades, while India accounts for approximately 10 per cent of the global burden. This translates to nearly 0.58 million patients living with the disease in the country.

The first-of-its-kind study conducted in India aimed to include 1,000 patients through a network of 10 speciality Movement Disorder Centers/Neurology clinics across India.

Dr Prashanth told IANS that the team found a high probability of non-mutation and Parkinson's mutations are quite common in Indian patients.

"We also found a lot of what we call it is variants of unknown significance. These are all important genes which have not been reported in literature and have been found. We need to work on these genes further to see how these genes can be important for the occurrence of Parkinson's disease in patients," he said.

Further, the expert noted that Indian patients carry many BSN gene mutations. The BSN gene primarily affects gait and balance for people and is normally not reported in Parkinson's.

Dr. Prashanth also noted that currently there is no single answer as to how to prevent the disease because Parkinson's disease is an ageing-related disorder.

"However, very important is good quality of life, proper food, timing, food timings, regular exercises." He also emphasised the need for a "stress-free life"

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