MSN: Researchers lead unprecedented genetic study of movement disorders

University of Cincinnati expands study to include Chilean patients

University of Cincinnati researchers are expanding a study to learn more about the genetic markers of movement disorders, a range of conditions affecting the nervous system that are increasingly being found to be caused by genetic mutations.

Luca Marsili, MD, PhD, adjunct instructor in the Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine in the UC College of Medicine, said the majority of research of the genetics of movement disorders to this point has been focused on European populations.

"There is a need to expand the knowledge to other populations from other ethnicities and ethnic groups,” Marsili said. “It's very helpful because we learn from the differences, particularly in the genetics.”

The expansion of the study stems from a new partnership between UC and the University of Chile.

Alberto Espay, MD, professor of neurology in the UC College of Medicine, director and endowed chair of the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Center for Parkinson's Disease at the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute and a UC Health physician, told MSN the testing looks to discover genetic mutations that have already been documented as well as others that have not yet been identified.

"Part of the reason we want to do this, of course, is that we want to open up therapeutic pathways, and we couldn't if we don't know what the genetic abnormality is," Espay said. "The bottom line is that the slice of the pie for neurogenetic disorders for which a diagnosis is known is starting to increase."

Read the MSN article in Spanish.

Read the MSN article in English via Google Translate. 

Read more about the research.

Dr. Espay was also featured on Mujer Latina Today's podcast Lorena Today to talk about the study. Listen to the podcast in Spanish. 

Editor's note: Espay's quote pulled from MSN article translated from Spanish to English using Google Translate.

Featured photo at top courtesy of Unsplash.