The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, in collaboration with the Indiana University School of Medicine, is studying the connection between Parkinson's disease and people with the LRRK2 gene. One of the target populations are individuals of Ashkenazi ancestry. About 1-2% of all people will develop Parkinson's disease. A recent study shows that in the Ashkenazi population, the risk to develop Parkinson's disease by age 80 is around 30%.
Studying people with Parkinson’s and their families is essential to help researchers identify genetic traits that may contribute to the onset and progression of PD. The Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) is The Michael J. Fox Foundation's flagship biomarkers study seeking to learn more about the genetics of Parkinson's disease. PPMI is currently studying the connection between PD and having a mutation in the LRRK2 gene — the single most common genetic contributor to PD.
Whether you have PD or not, you may be eligible to receive genetic counseling and testing at no cost to determine if you qualify to participate in PPMI.