Researchers seek siblings with Parkinson's disease for national genetic study

INDIANAPOLIS -- In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers are seeking siblings diagnosed with Parkinson's disease to identify the genetic markers that may indicate a predisposition for developing this movement disorder.

Indiana University School of Medicine is the principal institution of the 49 centers in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada participating in the five-year study known as PROGENI (Parkinson's Research: The Organized Genetic Initiative).

P. Michael Conneally, Ph.D., distinguished professor of medical and molecular genetics and of neurology at the IU School of Medicine, is the principal investigator for the $6 million study funded by the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health.

"This is an enormous undertaking; we are seeking 600 pairs of siblings who have Parkinson's disease," said Dr. Conneally. "Our goal is to understand the genetics of Parkinson's by isolating the genetic markers that contribute to a predisposition to the disease."

Information from the U.S. Human Genome Project will be used to help isolate the genetic markers for Parkinson's disease. Researchers believe greater understanding of the genes contributing to Parkinson's disease will likely lead to more effective treatments.

To be eligible for the study, two or more brothers and sisters with Parkinson's disease must both be available for clinical evaluation. Siblings do not need to live in the same city. Participants will be asked to complete a screening questionnaire, undergo a neurological examination and permit the drawing of blood to obtain DNA. The physical and neurological evaluation, as well as the blood draw, are administered at no cost to the participant and all information is strictly confidential.

To enroll in the project or to request additional information, please contact Cheryl Halter at the IU School of Medicine, toll free at 1-8

Contact: Mary Hardin
Indiana University

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