Is there a link between Ashkenazi Jews and Parkinson’s?

While browsing my Facebook feed, I came across the following post from the Michael J Fox Foundation: Find out if you may be eligible to participate in a clinical study investigating the link between Ashkenazi ancestry and Parkinson’s. 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 either the LRRK2 or GBA gene — both are promising targets of PD research. I have participated in a number of clinical studies for both PD and Breast Cancer.  I encourage you to participate as well.  Most studies have trouble recruiting enough people to actually do the study, even if they are fully funded.  If you have not already done so, sign up for Fox Trial Finder so that you can take an active part in finding a cure for PD. In addition, please go to the 23 and Me website and sign up to be tested.  There is no charge for the kit if you sign up for the PD research study.  Here is the link: They do not give you medical information..  Privacy is very important, and you have to sign a release for the company to share your results with researchers.  They do give you your Ancestry composition.  Mine, as expected, was 97.8% Ashkenazi.  The surprising part was the 2.8% Neanderthal!!!

WATCH: The Parkinson’s Minute on PD Genetics


2 responses to “Is there a link between Ashkenazi Jews and Parkinson’s?”

  1. I am of that heritage and getting tested was the first study I participated in. It was easy and educational. However, I do not carry the mutated gene. Secretly, I was hoping to have it as a reason behind my PD. BTW, those who do not have PD but are from Eastern European decent may be tested as well. I am currently in 2 web-based studies–Fox Insight (monitors your health, changes, etc.) and will be using a wearable device to track meds, movement, etc. for at least 6 weeks. The other study focuses on CAM Care in PD–complimentary & alternative medicine. It’s the least I can do!

    1. I don’t have the mutated gene either. And I am in the CAM study, too. I just got a notice about The Women in PD Initiative, which sponsored by the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. They are having a conference in NJ in September. I will send you info about it.

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A Note To My Readers

I love to see your comments and get your emails as we share our collective experiences. But based on a couple of private questions from some of you, remember, I am just a lay person and a patient like the rest of you. For medical and similar advice, you need to talk to your own doctor

Twitchy Woman

Twitchy Women partners with the Parkinson’s Wellness Fund to ensure we have the resources to offer peer support for women with Parkinson’s.