World Parkinson Congress: Genetics and Parkinson's

It was a packed schedule at the WPC yesterday.

Claire Bale from our Research team was in attendance at the fascinating Genetics: Inheritance, Risk Public Policy plenary session yesterday morning. Dr Gasser said that studying the genes we’ve found so far is revealing vital insights into what goes wrong with Parkinson’s – and can offer new clues for developing treatments.

Dr Christine Klein also discussed how understanding the part that our genes play in Parkinson’s has led to interesting possibilities for genetic testing.

Perhaps the most moving presentation came from David Iverson, a US broadcaster and journalist who discussed his family’s journey with Parkinson’s. His father had Parkinson’s - but now both he and his brother have also been diagnosed with the condition. David and his brother have children, so they discussed the idea of genetic testing together – but ultimately, chose not to have the tests.

Matt Farrer, a Canadian genetics expert said: “Genetics for Parkinson’s is moving forward at an incredible pace.”

Katherine Crawford, our Scotland Manager, was at the genetics session. She said: “It was really thought-provoking morning. The thing that really came across from John Iverson’s presentation was: Parkinson’s is progressive. But so is science.”

Jean and Mel Ballantyne, from the Parkinson’s UK Fife Branch, enjoyed having the chance to meet researchers face to face. Mel said: “The future looks exciting and you can definitely feel that enthusiasm amongst people here."

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