(RxWiki News) Researchers have identified five new genetic variants that are thought to play a role in Parkinson's disease.
An international team of scientists along with study leader Andrew Singleton of the National Institute on Aging at the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., found the new genetic variants after conducting a meta-analysis of five genome-wide association studies conducted throughout the U.S. and Europe, covering approximately 7.7 million possible genetic variants.
Parkinson's disease was widely thought to be caused by environmental factors, but since 2007, researchers have identified six genetic variants thought to affect risk of developing the progressive neurodegenerative disease. The new research brings that number of genetic variants to 11.
The discovery of these variants provide a launching point for more research into how Parkinson's develops.
About 50,000 to 60,000 Parkinson's disease cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the National Parkinson Foundation. Parkinson's disease leads to motor skill impairment, including tremor and coordination problems.