Genetic Testing and Counseling

Genetic Testing for Parkinson’s Disease

Genetic test results can provide important information for a person with Parkinson’s disease, and may also be informative for care providers and family members. In some cases, genetic test results can determine research eligibility for clinical trials. Each laboratory may include a different combination of genes on their gene panel. Selecting which genetic testing is most appropriate for an individual may be determined by many factors including prior testing, family history, ethnicity, related conditions, and clinical features. A genetic counselor can help determine which gene panel is most appropriate for your patient. There are also several resources available when considering genetic testing and what test to order.

Where to find genetic testing: The Genetic Testing Registry (GTR) provides information about the laboratories offering genetic testing for PD-related genes.

Concert Genetics also provides tools and information for genetic test selection, ordering, payment and management.

Genetic Counseling

A person who has undergone genetic testing for Parkinson’s disease, or who is considering genetic testing may benefit from a meeting with a genetic counselor. Genetic counselors are healthcare professionals with graduate training in the areas of medical genetics and counseling. A genetic counselor can educate about the risks and benefits of genetic testing, the limitations of genetic testing, and can provide guidance about what laboratory/gene panel would be best. Since genetic testing is a personal decision, a genetic counselor can assist patients in determining whether genetic testing is right for them. In addition, a genetic counselor can interpret genetic test results and explain the implications of the results for the individual tested, as well as for family members. They can help the individual adapt to the genetic information about a disease.

Where to find genetic counselor: Genetic counselors may be available at your institution. Some genetic counselors may also be available to speak with patients via remote-visit. One useful tool to help locate a genetic counselor by location or specialty is the NSGC Find a Genetic Counselor tool.

Click here for patient information about the genetic counseling profession.