The Parkinson's Disease

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Addressing the question of nature vs. nurture, Dr. Sonia Mathur states that “Genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger” (Mathur). Parkinson’s Disease (PD) exhibits this pattern, with the vast majority of PD cases being idiopathic, likely the result of combined genetic and environmental factors. While many researchers previously sought symptom-specific treatment, recent breakthroughs open the door for the discovery of genetic and environmental causes so that disease prevention, and even reversal, emerge as viable possibilities. Recent research demonstrates that certain types of PD are inevitable regardless of environmental factors, but most forms of the disease result from the compilation of negative environmental stimuli and genetic mutations. The discovery of the PARK-1 gene on chromosome four marked PD’s first known genetic cause (Gwinn). Researchers determined that, while normal cells carry just one copy of the PARK-1 genes, PD patients carried three copies (Gwinn). The PARK-1 genes promote the production of alphasynuclein proteins (Gwinn). These normally harmless proteins cause brain cell death when found in high concentrations. In fact, Lewy bodies composed of alpha-synuclein accumulate and destroy dopaminergic neurons (Gwinn). Interestingly, the genes triggering this accumulation rarely mutate somatically, implying that mutations on the PARK-1 gene are almost always hereditary (Proukakis). Furthermore, the individuals who contract genetic PD in relation to

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