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Gene Mutation Tied to Higher Parkinson's Risk

Those with it are 20 percent likelier to have disease

TUESDAY, June 29, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A specific form of a gene called APOE is associated with a slight increase in the risk of Parkinson's disease.

University of North Carolina (UNC) researchers report on the link in the June issue of Neurology.

"We found that APOE-2 conveyed a slight but statistically significant risk for Parkinson's disease, with an odds ratio of 1.2," lead author Dr. Xuemei Huang, an assistant professor of neurology at the UNC School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.

"This means that people with this gene have about a 20 percent higher chance of developing Parkinson's disease than people without it. Given that the overall prevalence of Parkinson's in the general population is about 1 percent, this means the prevalence of the disease in people with APOE-2 is about 1.2 percent," Huang said.

He and his colleagues reviewed the results of 22 studies involving thousands of people.

They also found another version of the gene called APOE-4, which has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, is not a risk factor in Parkinson's disease.

"It basically shows that neurodegenerative diseases may differ in significant risk factors, contrary to prevailing views," Huang said.

More information

You can learn more about the disorder at the Parkinson's Disease Foundation.

SOURCE: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, news release, June 23, 2004
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