Causes and risk factors for Parkinson's disease

The precise causes of Parkinson’s disease are still unknown, but it is accepted that there are genetic and environmental factors at work.


The causes of Parkinson’s disease have not been identified, but the causes most likely combine a number of factors. Even though the dopamine deficit mechanism is well understood, the causes remain unknown, which often makes it difficult for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease to accept their illness.


However, work carried out very recently by French and American teams have for the first time been able to determine the importance of genetic risk factors in the onset of Parkinson’s disease. Identifying the genetic risk factors involved in the most common forms of the illness will not only allow significant advances to be made in the understanding of causes, but also the development of diagnostic and prognostic tools.
Even if there are hereditary forms of Parkinson’s disease, these family cases are fortunately very rare (5% to 10% of cases have such a cause). We normally talk about genetic predisposition more than heredity.
What’s more, environmental risk factors such as exposure to toxic substances such as lead are suspected. The onset of Parkinson’s disease often occurs in conjunction with these environmental or genetic factors.

Last updated: 25/01/2018

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