Researchers find Parkinson's disease gene

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The discovery of a defective gene responsible for Parkinson's disease could mean better research for preventing or delaying the disease, according to experts.

The international team of researchers studied five families with a history of Parkinson's in Spain and England and discovered a common gene, PARKS8, that encodes a protein named dardarin, after dardara, a Basque region term for tremors. Several of the families examined were located in the Basque region of Spain. Tremors are a common symptom of Parkinson's.

Investigators fond two defects in the same gene, one associated with the disease in the Spanish families and the other with Parkinson's in the English families.

Dardarin is found throughout the brain and the discovered mutations were not present in more than 1,400 corresponding chromosomes in people without Parkinson's disease.

People with the disease commonly exhibit tremors in the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face, as well as experience stiffness of the limbs and trunk, slow movement and impaired balance.