New scientific research has found Ashkenazi Jews with Crohn’s disease have an increased chance of carrying a gene mutation that causes Parkinson’s disease.
A ten-year study, published in the Science Translational Medicine journal, found that Ashkenazi Jews with Crohn’s are more likely to have the LRRK2 gene mutation.
The mutation is described as the greatest known genetic contributor to Parkinson’s by the Michael J Fox Foundation.
The discovery could help experts understand the causes of Parkinson’s and Crohn’s.
Inga Peter, professor of genetics and genomic sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai hospital in New York, was the lead researcher on the study.
She said: “The presence of shared LRRK2 mutations in patients with Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s disease provides refined insight into disease mechanisms and may have major implications for the treatment of these two seemingly unrelated diseases.”
Dr Peter and her colleagues looked at 23,000 genetic mutations in 2,066 Ashkenazi Jews with Crohn’s.
She also examined the genetic mutations in 3,633 Ashkenazi Jews who don’t have Crohn’s.
The study found that Crohn’s sufferers with a higher risk strain of the LRRK2 gene mutation were more likely to develop Crohn’s in the small intestine, which is harder to treat.