Parkinson's Disease

Ida & Andre i-a.kamphuis at wxs.nl
Sat Feb 5 13:43:03 EST 2000

On Fri, 14 Jan 2000 12:52:16 GMT, "Nick De Smet"
<nick.desmet at advalvas.be> wrote:

>Several members of my family have been the victime of the parkinson's
>I would like to know if there's any way to determine whether I can or can
>not get this disease? ( By scanning? bloodtest? ...)
>Thank you for your help?
>nick.desmet at advalvas.be


A few days ago i did send theses answers to bionet neuroscience. But
because you posted to that list already rather  long ago< I send it
now again answering the same questions.

The extent that  genes determine whether a person runs a great risk of
Parkinsons diseaese has long been obscure. The last decade a few genes
are  found who run in certain families. Each member of thoses families
can have a gene test. I don't know whether having such a gene  means
getting the disease or only running a risk.
Besides Parkinson is a disease that is among old people very frequent.
So if your family members with Parkinson are or were old, it is more
probable that  their disease is not caused by their genes. If
environmental causes are important  it can happen that different
family members have been exposed to the same environmental factor
The outcome of much epidemiological research has untill today resulted
in the consistent conclusions that living in the countryside  is a
risk factor as is being of caucasian race and smoking protects against
Recently researchers have assessed that it is really nicotine that
protects the dopamine producing cells against dying.
I am myself suffering from parkinson and had contacts with many of
them . In my experience  only a few young onset patients had it in
their families.
I hope I did not heighten your anxiety. If you want more info please

I forgot to answer your last question. Parkinsons disease is difficult
to diagnose., before the symptoms are observable. The sisease process
starts years before the symptoms surface. Only with a PET scan the
loss of cells in the substantia nigra can be made visible. But that is
a very expensive test and I doubt if any neuro  is willing to do that
test as long as nothing can be done to stop the cells from dying.,
except heavy smoking. That is weird isn't it?
There has been hope that a neuroprotective substance was on the verge
of being found, but now there is more pessimism about that. The
possibilities of symptom treatment are rapidly increasing. When I was
diagnosd, now 15 years ago , the neurologiists said the time
they could  control the symptoms was about 10 years. Now 15 years
later my symptoms are not much less  in control than they were in the
first years after diagnosis.

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