Always talk to your doctor about genetic testing for Parkinson's disease (PD) and speak to a genetic counselor before and after taking a genetics test. Knowing your genetic status can provide a sense of empowerment and control and may lead to better treatment and care.
A genetic test will help you identify whether you carry a genetic mutation related to Parkinson’s. Understanding genetic differences across people with Parkinson's can help identify clues about how and why a person’s experience with the disease differs from others.
Knowing this genetic mutation can help you determine if you are eligible to enroll in certain clinical trials. Several ongoing clinical trials are already testing treatments for people who carry certain PD gene mutations in LRRK2 and GBA.
For people with Parkinson's, genetic tests are either not available or not affordable, and not covered by health insurance or offered with genetic counseling. Studies like PD GENEration are underway and offer genetic testing and genetic counseling at no cost.
Researchers are optimistic that using individualized treatments aimed at people with a specific genetic mutation will produce better responses and more effective therapies. The hope is that discoveries through genetics may lead to new, more effective Parkinson's therapies that will be tailored to each person's unique experience.
Genetic Testing & Counseling
Join the PD GENEration study to help accelerate scientific research and identify new treatment options for Parkinson's.
What Should You Know About At-Home Genetic Tests?
Genetic tests are not a substitute for a Parkinson's diagnosis. Most at-home genetic tests do not provide genetic counseling services to help interpret the results. Always consult with a genetic counselor and your doctor before and after taking a genetic test. Most at-home genetic tests check for a limited number of gene mutations associated with Parkinson's. This can be misleading since these tests may not be comprehensive.
Since scientists are still discovering more PD-associated genes, it is important to consult your doctor about comprehensive genetic testing options, like the PD GENEration study, which provides a free comprehensive genetic test identifying all possible variants in the seven most common PD genes.
Even if you or a loved one test positive for a Parkinson's gene, it does not mean you will develop the disease. Having a genetic mutation only means that you may be at increased risk to develop PD. Environmental factors and lifestyle choices will help determine whether someone will get Parkinson's.
If Parkinson's runs in your family and you want to get genetically tested, consult with a genetic counselor first. Discuss your reasons for being tested and the impact it may have on you and your family.
Genetic testing helps estimate the risk of developing Parkinson's, but is not a diagnosis and cannot provide a timeline for the possibility of developing the disease. A genetic counselor can discuss and interpret test results and related issues while providing emotional support.
There are commercial companies that offer genetic testing for Parkinson's disease. However, if you suspect you or a loved one has Parkinson's, consult with a neurologist and a genetic specialist before proceeding with genetic testing.
Genetic counseling sets the Parkinson's Foundation PD GENEration study apart — it offers genetic testing and genetic counseling at no cost for people with Parkinson’s. As part of the study, participants meet with a certified genetic counselor to review and discuss genetic test results.
Enroll now in our genetics study.
The Parkinson’s Foundation genetic study, PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinson’s Disease, provides genetic testing and genetic counseling at no cost to people with Parkinson’s.