A new study into Parkinson’s disease will focus on Ashkenazi Jews.

The research, being conducted by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, will look into genetic mutations typically found among patients of Ashkenazi descent.


The study is part of the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative, a biomarker study, which is expanding to look at mutations like LRRK2, which is most commonly found in Jews from Eastern Europe backgrounds.

An estimated 250 subjects with the mutation will take part in the study, at 32 medical sites across the globe.

Scientists say five to 10 percent of Parkinson’s cases are linked to genetic mutation, though these subjects could also possess traits that have farther-reaching implications for Parkinson’s patients as a whole.

“Focusing on PD patients and those at risk for PD with genetic mutations will allow us to track the disease process at the earliest stages of illness,” said Ken Marek, MD, president and senior scientist at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders in New Haven, Connecticut.

“This population will teach us about the biology of Parkinson’s disease and will accelerate our research toward a PD biomarker and more effective PD therapies.”