Progression of Parkinson’s disease is very variable and unpredictable. There are, however, some factors that predict slower overall progression of disease, including younger age of onset of disease (under 40 years old) and a tremor-dominant pattern of disease. Unfortunately, although disease progresses more slowly in patients with young-onset disease, these patients also have increased difficulty with depression, coping and development of complications from medication therapy (i.e., dyskinesias).
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Typically, Parkinson's disease (PD) progresses very slowly over several years. However, the rate of severity can be variable, as well as the long-term outcomes. For example, some people can survive free of dementia or nursing home placement, while others cannot. We have no established method of predicting the outcomes of people with PD, or their rates of decline. We have no established methods of slowing the rate of progression or preventing unwanted outcomes. To the extent that our DNA is our destiny, we hope to discover DNA fingerprints from blood samples that will predict outcomes and the rates of progression or the responses to therapy. Then, we can target new therapies against these genetic (or molecular) factors, with hopes of cheating destiny.