Gene variant protects against Parkinson’s disease and may lead to therapies

People who carry a rare gene variant are about half as likely to develop it Parkinson’s disease than people who carry a different version of the gene, a new study finds.

Researchers have begun to uncover exactly how this genetic quirk can protect against Parkinson’s disease — by preserving the function of a crucial enzyme needed for cell metabolism and survival. A better understanding of the defense mechanism may someday lead to new treatments for the disease, the scientists wrote in the report, published Jan. 3 in the journal Molecular psychiatry.

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