“Genetic Testing May Influence Treatment of Neurologic Disorders”

Excerpts from this recent article in Brain & Life (brainandlife.org) magazine:

“Identifying genetic mutations associated with neurologic disorders may influence treatment and management—and inform decisions about getting tested. … Researchers are still working to understand exactly how these variants interact with each other and with the environment to cause disease. Many of the more common neurologic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease are associated with less severe variants in multiple risk genes, but in some cases they are produced by variants in single causative genes. … If people have puzzling neurologic signs or symptoms, or if one or more neurologic conditions seem to run in their families, should they pursue genetic testing?  The answer depends on the disorder and the usefulness of the information to people and their doctors, according to experts.”

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Prediagnostic PSP – symptoms appear almost 8 years before diagnosis

This interesting study of “prediagnostic” progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) out of the UK Biobank was recently published.  It concludes that symptoms of PSP can be seen almost 8 years before diagnosis.  Reaction time was the strongest predictive marker with changes evident as early as 10 years before diagnosis!

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Four hours/week exercise (even household chores) slows progression of Parkinson’s

I don’t know of any medication that gets these kinds of results in slowing the progression of Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

Newly-published research shows that four hours per week of moderate “exercise” slows the progression of PD.  “Exercise” means any kind of regular physical activity, even household chores.  See this article in MedPage Today about this latest research:

Parkinson’s Progression Slower with Sustained Physical Activity
by Judy George, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today
January 13, 2022


One open question is HOW exercise works to slow disease progression.

Here are excerpts from the MedPage Today article:

People with early Parkinson’s disease who exercised regularly over 5 years performed better on cognitive testing and had slower disease progression in several domains, an observational cohort study showed.

“We found that to slow progression of the disease, it was more important for people with Parkinson’s to maintain an exercise program than it was to be active at the beginning of the disease,” Tsukita said in a statement.

“Although medications can provide people with Parkinson’s some symptom relief, they haven’t been shown to slow the progression of the disease,” Tsukita added. “We found that regular physical activity, including household tasks and moderate exercise, may actually improve the course of the disease over the long run.”

Participants who engaged in 4 or more hours a week of moderate to vigorous exercise had slower instability and gait decline over 5 years, the researchers found. Those who participated in at least 15.5 hours a week of paid or volunteer work that included physical activity had better processing speed scores over time.

“To maintain high physical activity levels for Parkinson’s disease patients, it is essential that they themselves are convinced of the benefits of high physical activity levels,” the researchers pointed out.