Loss of dopaminergic neurons is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The decrease in dopamine levels causes the part of the brain that controls movement to malfunction, causing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease to appear.
Not knowing the exact causes of the disease can make coping with Parkinson’s more difficult for some patients and their loved ones. Researchers in Quebec and around the world are continuously working to better understand Parkinson’s disease and find a cure.
Genes are like an instruction manual. They code the synthesis of molecules that make up the body. A change in these instructions can lead to different effects and potentially to diseases.
Some of these modifications or mutations have been identified in people living with Parkinson’s disease. They increase the risk of developing the disease but are not common. Moreover, they do not always lead to the development of the disease.
Hereditary diseases are passed from parents to their children, but cases of familial Parkinson’s disease are very rare (less than 2%). The vast majority of Parkinson’s cases are not transmissible.
Having Parkinson’s disease does not affect your children’s risk of developing the disease. Similarly, your risk is not increased if your brother or sister has the disease. However, your risk may be increased if more than one person in your family has the disease.
Exposure to certain environmental factors or toxins may contribute to the development of Parkinson’s disease.
The main environmental factors involved in Parkinson’s disease are:
Exposure to these factors is often occupational, such as pesticides in the case of farmers.
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