A new study, published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, suggests that while the decline in the ability of people to distinguish between colors is characteristic of people with Parkinson’s Disease, it is reduced among Gaucher’s Disease patients who have “Parkinsonian” symptoms.

The study was led by Professor Ari Zimran, Director of Shaare Zedek’s Gaucher Clinic and Dr. Deborah Elstein, the Research Coordinator for the Gaucher’s Unit.  Dr. Deborah Elstein initiated the study which was done in cooperation with Prof. Shlomi Siman-Tov of the Ophthalmology Department.

Shaare Zedek’s Gaucher’s Clinic has been functioning for 20 years.  It treats 750 patients a year and is the largest of its kind in the world devoted solely to Gaucher’s Disease.  This group, under Prof. Zimran’s direction, was the first to publish anecdotal evidence of the association between Gaucher’s Disease and early-onset Parkinson’s.

Gaucher’s Disease is a genetic disorder that is most common in Ashkenazi Jewish families and is relatively rare for others. In comparison, Parkinson’s Disease affects one percent of the general population over 60 years of age.

Prof. Giora Weisz, Director of the Bendheim Department of Cardiology in the Jesselson Heart Center of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, was an author of another study, led by Duke Clinical Research Institute and presented on November 10, 2015 at the American Heart Association’s annual Scientific Sessions meeting.  It revealed that heart patients who had percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI, also known as angioplasty) procedures to open some blocked arteries tended to have a resolution of their chest pain, even if some blockages remain.  This alleviates the need to add additional medication to treat symptoms such as angina.