“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.”

And, the article quotes expert Brent Fogel, MD, PhD, director of the UCLA Clinical Neurogenomics Research Center:

“I often get referrals for people who have a family history of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s who want to know if they need to worry because a family member had the disease.  In most cases, genetic testing in these situations is not appropriate. These diseases do have a genetic basis, but our tools are designed to pinpoint a single causative gene, and often this genetic risk is due to an accumulation of changes in many genes, so there wouldn’t be any useful information we could provide from our typical testing.”


“Polygenic genetic risk scores (those that examine multiple minor genetic risk variants) are being studied for neurologic diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, says Dr. Fogel, but they are not ready for widespread clinical use yet.”

Read the full article here:


Genetic Testing May Influence Treatment of Neurologic Disorders
Brain & Life
February/March 2022