Thursday, November 19, 2020

Do Parkinson's Disease and Genetics Have a Connection?

    One of the most infamous diseases out in the world today is the nervous system destroyer, Parkinson's Disease. To give an exact definition of this disease, it can be described as a brain disorder that leads to shaking, stiffness, and making walking and talking very hard. Usually, Parkinson's Disease occurs when one gets older in age. How it works is that, the cells that produce dopamine, get mutated and lose function. This is why people who have this disease have very hard times walking, moving around, and talking. Pictured above is Pittsburgh Pirate and Cincinnati Red legend, Dave Parker. He was a tremendous player who helped the Pirates win a world series back in the 1970's and was on the world series winning Reds in 1989. He currently has Parkinson's Disease and in current videos of him, it is obvious that he has the disease by seeing his shakes and his very limited movements to his body.

    Like a lot of diseases, it is very important to understand the genetics behind it. Some questions may be if it random that one gets this disease, or if a family history of it will land a bigger chance of one getting it. According to some studies done, about 10-15% of Parkinson's Disease have to do with a genetic factor, while the other 85-90% have to do with randomness and environmental factors. One interesting fact that is still an unknown is that groups like the Ashkenazi Jews and North African Arab Berbers have a much higher case of genetic transfer of this disease. Furthermore, if someone is genetically tested, and they are found to have a gene that is associated with Parkinson's Disease, they are still at an extremely low risk of actually getting the disease. So, Parkinson's Disease mostly develops by environmental factors and by randomness. Having family history and genes that are associated with PD only raise the chance of the person getting it by a very low percentage.'s%20disease%20is%20a%20brain,have%20difficulty%20walking%20and%20talking.


  1. I am surprised that Parkinson's disease is for the most part, not inherited. You would think that because it is changing the function of cells that produce dopamine, this mutation would come from genetics, but it seems as if environment plays a larger role. I'd be curious to see what kind of environments that scientists believe will raise the percentage of getting Parkinson's disease, for example, does chronic stress increase the chance of getting the disease? I think it would be interesting to do an experiment where you compare the living environments of those with Parkinson's disease, and see if there is any similarity in the environments. I really liked your article and blog post!

  2. One of the greatest boxers ever - Muhammad Ali - had Parkinson's disease before he passed and had a good feeling it was an environmental reason that he developed this disease. At his position, he got hit in the head constantly and over time it wore down on him eventually leading to this horrible disease. You said age is the main reason to how people develop this, I think there is more at play than that, hugely related to environment of the person. This disease does scare me a lot less now knowing that it is not a genetic inheritance.