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Parkinson's disease and vision loss may share genetic origins

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Recent research has suggested a link between Parkinson’s disease and vision loss. The study, led by Dr. Chris Elliot at the University of York’s Biology department, has associated a genetic mutation responsible for Parkinson’s disease with low visual acuity. While the neurodegenerative disorder is most often characterized by movement difficulties, slowness, and tremor, there can also be damage to sensory systems. The research examined the visual system of the fruit fly, which is very similar to the human system. By showing that a particular mutation in Parkinson’s can also affect vision, the investigators suggest a potential concomitant condition of PD that has similar genetic origins. This connection heightens the awareness of these relatedness impairments and may improve prophylactic treatment. While other Parkinson-related genetic mutations were not associated with vision loss, the findings of this study propose that Parkinson’s disease and vision loss do have some level of shared molecular beginnings, and encourage further research to clarify this relationship.

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