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Byline: Ed Edelson
GENETICS Duo of disorders bound by genes Studies have suggested the genetic link between Parkinson's and Gaucher disease but there have always been questions based on their size and controls. Now scientists say they have put together a large enough number so that no one will question the results that could lead to better therapies for both diseases, writes AN UNPRECEDENTED worldwide study has clinched the case that the gene behind Gaucher disease, a rare neurological disorder, is also involved in Parkinson's disease. For those of us who work with rare disorders, it is heartwarming to come up with insights that are applicable to more common disorders, says Dr Ellen Sidransky, a senior investigator in the US National Human Genome Research Institute, and leader of a study reported in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Gaucher disease affects no more than one in 100000 people in most populations.
Gaucher disease develops in people who have two defective copies of a gene designated GBA. It codes for production of an enzyme that breaks down glucocerebrosidase, a fatty substance normally found in the body. The faulty gene allows accumulation of the …