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Is Parkinson's hereditary?
LisaannP posted:
Both my father and my father-in-law have Parkinson's. My father in law was diagnosed at a young age; my father not until his 70s. My children are watching both grandfathers deteriorate and are scared that they might get PD. What should I tell them?
Mark A Stacy, MD responded:
Thank you for your note. There are several types of gene-related PD that are inherited. These genetic forms are are quite uncommon, but your father and father-in-law may wish to discuss genetic testing with their neurologists. If they carry a "dominant" gene form, the potential that you and your husband have for inheriting the gene is 50%. That would give your children a 25% chance of inheriting the gene from you or your husband.

Any of this scenario would be highly unlikely. The more common form of "inherited" PD is associated with the transmission of risk factors for PD. This is a complicated and poorly understood type of heritability, but in general we believe that people with PD in their families have a slightly higher risk of developing the uncommon disease.
cb4321 replied to Mark A Stacy, MD's response:
My question is similar. Here is my situation. My Grandmother on my dad side had PD late in her life (70). My dad and his sister both develop some signs in early 50's. Both ended up on medication. Dad's older brother had not develop any systems. My brother at the age 50 has tremors. He is now 58 and shakes constantly. I (age 59) have a tremor in my left hand (fingers) had mostly when holding a pencil still. My younger sister shows no symptoms. There is no PD on my wife's side.

I am concern that my sons (age 30 and 35) will develop PD. Are my concerns valid and is there anything they can do to improve their chances of not developing the disease.
Mark A Stacy, MD replied to cb4321's response:
We do not have a diagnostic marker for PD. When DaTSCAN becomes available, your family members will be able to determine whether you have lower levels of dopamine in your brains. This is a useful biological marker for the condition. I would suggest you be evaluated at a Movement Disorders Center in your state, and discuss these concerns. I may take some effort, and some expense, but answers to these questions may be important to your family.
An_243176 replied to cb4321's response:
I am interested in this as well, my Dad, his brother and his sister's daughter all have suffered from PD. His sister, mother and younger brother all show symptoms but have not been diagnosed. My Dad's case was severe, his feet and legs were almost worthless by the time he passed at age 83 and he developed PD related dementia toward the end. I can not help but believe there is a genetic link.
Mark A Stacy, MD replied to An_243176's response:
Dear An_243176,
The type of inheritance pattern you are describing is consistent with an Autosomal Dominant type of condition. I would suggest you ask one of your relatives with the diagnosis of PD to ask a neurologist about alpha-synuclein testing. If that is positive, it would be likely that this is the cause of PD in the family. This would leave you with the decision about whether you or family members wish to have this test done. There are also companies that may do this testing, and further information can be obtained on line.

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