Columbia University Medical Center

Gaucher Disease Carriers Have Higher Parkinson’s Risk

alcalay

Roy Alcalay

People who carry a mutated gene that causes Gaucher disease have a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s than the general population, according to a new study led by Roy Alcalay, MD, assistant professor of neurology at P&S.

The study, published in JAMA Neurology, found that Gaucher carriers have a 7 percent to 9 percent chance of developing Parkinson’s by age 80, equivalent to the risk among people with Gaucher disease (who have two copies of the mutated gene). In the general population, the risk of developing Parkinson’s is about 2 percent.

Though Gaucher carriers have a similar risk of Parkinson’s as people with Gaucher, they typically develop Parkinson’s about 10 years later than people with Gaucher, the study also found. At age 60, close to 5 percent of people with Gaucher in the study had developed Parkinson’s, while only 1.5 percent of Gaucher carriers had.

The new information “may be very helpful for people who know they are Gaucher carriers,” says an article on the website of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, which helped fund the study. The article also says that “a better understanding of the link between Gaucher and Parkinson’s may shed light on what causes Parkinson’s in general.”

Learn more at the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

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