Right now, knowing your genetic status will not change your medical care, but this is beginning to change as targeted treatments are being explored in research studies. In addition, researchers are learning that there are genetic types of Parkinson’s disease that have their own set of clinical features. People may want to get tested for informational purposes, their own personal reasons, or to help understand risk to their family members. A genetic counselor can help you decide if genetic testing is right for you.

Genetic testing for Parkinson’s disease is available through:

Regardless of the avenue of testing, there are many things to think about before getting genetic testing. A genetic counselor can help you explore the benefits, risks, and limitations. You will also want to make sure the most appropriate genetic test is ordered, based on your medical and family histories.

Genetic Discrimination and Protection

When thinking about having genetic testing, patients and research participants may worry about genetic discrimination and privacy. Fortunately, genetic discrimination has not been as large of a problem as first anticipated.

Under the 2008 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), individuals are protected from genetic discrimination related to health insurance and employment. This protection does not cover long-term care, disability, or life insurance, and does not apply to active-duty military or employers with less than 15 employees. State laws may offer additional protection not contained in GINA. Other laws may apply to privacy protection of an individual’s genetic information, another potential area of concern.

For more patient information on these topics please visit: