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Substantial Matters: Life & Science of Parkinson’s

Nov 5, 2019

Many diseases have a genetic component. In most instances, these gene variants are risk factors for the disease, that is, they raise the risk that someone might develop the disease. It is estimated that 10% to 15% of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) have a genetic form of the disease, and several genes have been identified that may raise the risk of developing PD or may affect its severity and course. Professional genetic counselors can help people sort out their risks, advise them on the pros and cons of getting a genetic test, and explain and put into perspective the results of genetic tests. The Parkinson’s Foundation has recently initiated the PD GENEration study, which will ultimately recruit and provide genetic testing and counseling to 15,000 people with PD to investigate the relationship between genes and PD. A crucial component of the study is genetic counseling. In this podcast, Certified Genetic Counselor Jenny Verbrugge, MS, CGC of Indiana University, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, discusses the role of genetic counseling in general, in what situations people may want to avail themselves of it, and the value of home genetic tests versus those performed by a clinical laboratory.