Researchers in Canada have identified a gene implicated in late-onset Lewy body Parkinson's disease.
The discovery was made using members of the Saskatchewan family, with 12 of the 57 relatives previously diagnosed with Parkinson's.
It was found that in those with the condition, a mutation in the gene DNAJC13 was present. This was then confirmed among other families in several Canadian provinces.
Dr Matthew Farrer, leader of the study, has called the finding the "missing link" that allows researchers to unify previous genetic discoveries related to Parkinson's disease.
"This discovery is not only significant for researchers, but also for those families carrying this genetic mutation and afflicted with this disease in that it offers hope that something good might yet result from their suffering," he stated.
Identifying the gene that leads to Parkinson's is the first step in finding a cure and more effective treatment for the condition.
Dr Farrer stresses that this important breakthrough would not have been possible without the co-operation of the Saskatchewan family.
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