A newley discovered genetic link implicates the immune system as a trigger for the development of late-onset Parkinson’s disease. Researchers from Johns Hopkins have confirmed that a gene in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region of the human genome was strongly linked with Parkinson’s disease; this region contains a large number of genes related to immune system function. Their results were published in the August issue of the journal Nature Genetics and supports the long held idea that inflammation and autoimmune disease lies at the heart of this problem and helps dispell the old concepts that environmental factors were the exclusive cause.
The research may help explain why, in some patients, the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen appear to be protective against Parkinson’s disease. The new findings and connection between Parkinson’s disease and inflammation, especially in the context of the variable genetic make-ups of individuals, should lead to better, more selective treatment.
From the holistic perspective, this study re-inforces the need to focus on dietary factors that are linked to a reduced level of inflammation in the body and possibly the use of specific supplements with known anti-inflammatory properties.
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