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Substantial Matters: Life & Science of Parkinson’s

Aug 8, 2023

Variants of several genes have been identified that raise the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinson’s Disease is the Parkinson’s Foundation groundbreaking initiative that seeks to uncover the relationship between genetics and one’s risk for PD. The goal is to eventually help people better manage their disease, facilitate research into better treatments, and potentially, find a cure. The study is now expanding to actively enroll people of diverse backgrounds. Variants of certain genes associated with the risk of developing PD have different frequencies among different populations. Besides reaching out to Black and Asian communities in the mainland United States, PD GENEration is now expanding to Hispanic communities in Puerto Rico as well as in the Dominican Republic (DR).

Although every person’s disease is unique to them, understanding genetic differences across broad groups of people may help explain why a person’s experience with the disease differs from others. That is why it is important for PD GENEration to enroll people from diverse communities, where genes associated with the disease may occur at different frequencies.

Our guest in this episode is Amasi Kumeh, Director of Research Partnership at the Parkinson’s Foundation. She explains why it is important to include people of diverse backgrounds in the study and how and where the Foundation is reaching out to enroll people from a diverse range of communities in PD GENEration.