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Can a blood test be done to check for Parkinson disease?

Answered by
Dr. Dariush Saghafi


Practicing since :1988

Answered : 1711 Questions

Posted on Sat, 23 Aug 2014 in Brain and Spine
Question: Can I get a blood test to see if Parkinson disease is in my genes?
Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi 4 hours later
Brief Answer:
Short answer: NO blood test

Detailed Answer:
Although researchers are working hard to nail down specific biomarkers to identify Parkinsons' Disease (PD) by way of a blood test unfortunately, to date the diagnosis still remains one which is entirely done on clinical grounds.

In 2012 Durin Technologies announced that it had successfully produced a blood test to detect with high accuracy the presence of PD in patients (early detection). In 2013, the XXXXXXX J. Fox Foundation announced that it had awarded a XXXXXXX of over $350,000 to Durin Technologies to expand on this test and see if it could reproduce its initial test results. There has been no further report on successful work in that area and researchers continue to look for an accurate and feasible solution that will be FDA approved for commercial use.

Bottom line is that as of right now there is no commercially available blood test for the purpose of diagnosing PD either as a disease in an individual nor to predict if someone will have a probability of getting it by way of genetic transmission.

The way you ask the question makes me believe that you DO NOT have Parkinson's Disease but perhaps someone in your family does?

You may be interested in knowing that researchers have recently announced the testing (Phase 1 trials) a new vaccine for PD. While this research development is unlikely to be of any value for people who are already diagnosed or have symptoms of PD it does offer some hope for people in your age group who are still felt to be decades away of developing symptoms of the disease.

If I've answered your question satisfactorily then, I'd very much appreciate your written feedback with a STAR RATING to let me know how well I hit the mark.

And if there are no further questions on this topic I would also be grateful if you would CLOSE THE QUERY which will signal to the network that we had a successful exchange which can be filed and referenced as needed.

Best to you.

This case required 32 minutes of physician specific time in reviewing, researching, and documenting in final draft form for envoy to the writer.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Ashwin Bhandari
Follow up: Dr. Dariush Saghafi 14 hours later
Thank you so much for the info!! Yes my father has it. Not a big fan of his doctor's either. They mentioned he may have a genetic form of pd and if we have I believe they said park6 gene there's a pretty good chance we'd get it
Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
Park6 (tip of the iceberg)

Detailed Answer:
Hi there. So, now we have more information. Great...thanks for clarifying a couple of questions I had about for what exactly you were searching. Now I know. You are concerned about genetic transmission of PD given the fact your father may have a genetic form of PD.

The Genetics of PD is incredibly complex and not static by any means. It's been about 15+ years of specific research into the genetic makeup of people with PD and there are literally new findings being published constantly so what we think we know today can literally change overnight.

As an example, just over the past 10 DAYS announcements were made as to 6 additional genetic risk factors that one research group discovered and published which now adds to the previous list of genetic risks numbering about 28 in total.

Aside from that there are a couple of other things I'd like you to keep in mind when discussing the genetics of PD:

1. Discovering a person's risk to develop certain forms of PD requires genetic sequencing and analysis in a given patient. The analysis is made more complete by testing parents and additional family members especially those who have the disease of interest.

2. Just because an individual carries a copy of a gene or mutation of a gene known to be associated with or causative for a particular form of PD does not mean that there is a 100% guarantee that the individual will develop that form or any form of PD in the future.

3. A person must always keep in mind that the ABSENCE of any of the genes or mutations of genes known to be associated with genetic forms of PD in offspring (and given the fact that one or both parents or other family members are known to have a genetic form of PD) DOES NOT GUARANTEE that an individual will NEVER develop PD.

4. The reason for #3 being true is because there are SPORADIC forms of the disease which we believe probably come about from environmental factors and triggers or a multiplicity of factors along with environment which cause spontaneous mutations in normal genes resulting in PD later on in life.

As far as the Park6 gene is considered (PINK1 is another name you may read about on the internet) here is what I can tell you. This gene is a recessive mutation associated with a familial form of PD. If your father has this set of genes and PD then, what that means is that he receives 1 copy of Park6 from his father and 1 copy of Park6 from his mother). Neither of his parents may have manifest symptoms of PD or one or the other may have had signs or even any of those possibilities.

However, as it applies to you the only way you would be at significantly higher risk of contracting PD later in life knowing that your father is Park6 (+) is if your mother also contributes a copy of this mutated gene as well. In that case, you would have an ELEVATED RISK OF DEVELOPING PD. It does not mean that you will definitely develop PD.

So essentially, it would be nice to know your mom's genetic status and it is IMPERATIVE to know YOUR genetic status. If you want to know about your kids' risks then, you would need to test your husband at the very least and if you want more certainty yet you will have to test your kids as well and find out exactly what their genetic makeup involves.

If you would like some of the best lay information on the web (in my opinion) on PD and related topics including clinical trials that are ongoing both through the foundation as well as elsewhere then, check out the XXXXXXX J. Fox Parkinson's Disease Foundation and read their updated information. I think they also do a very good job boiling down the basics of the genetics on PD better than almost any other website (lay or technical).

Here is the link:

Once again, I hope this information has been helpful and would be happy to answer more questions if you have any.

If not, then, your written evaluation with a STAR RATING on what I've presented to you would be greatly appreciated as well as your CLOSING THE QUERY so that it may be appropriately counted and filed.

I wish you the best of luck with your father in discovering what is most of interest as well as what is most IN your interest regarding this complex and fascinating subject matter.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Bhagyalaxmi Nalaparaju

The User accepted the expert's answer

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