Mayo Clinic Laboratories > Neurology > Neurogenetics > Hereditary movement disorders

Hereditary movement disorders

Individualized insights for tailored treatment

As new research identifies inherited causes of movement disorders, Mayo Clinic is at the forefront of developing diagnostic testing to identify the genetic causes of conditions as well as prognostic testing to predict the risk of developing disease. Our test menu includes testing for a variety of ataxias, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and more.

Hereditary movement disorders Test menu


Ataxia, which involves poor muscle control that may cause difficulty with walking, balance, hand coordination, speech, and swallowing, results from damage to the cerebellum. While the condition can be caused by alcohol misuse, stroke, tumor, multiple sclerosis, and certain medications, it also has genetic causes.

Inherited forms of ataxia can be autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive, with different genetic variants causing different types — most of which are progressive.

Our full menu of hereditary ataxia testing includes both a comprehensive panel and focused panels that evaluate for Friedreich’s ataxia and spinocerebellar ataxia, which are among the most common forms of inherited disease. In addition to molecular testing for Friedrich’s ataxia, we offer biochemical testing for frataxin protein analysis.

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Huntington’s disease

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Inherited spastic paraplegia

Key testing

Parkinson’s disease

For patients with a family history of Parkinson’s disease, understanding their genetic risk of developing the condition is an important first step in tailoring interventions that may delay symptom onset and progression.

Genetic testing can reveal characteristics about prognosis and may help guide and customize treatment selection. Genetic testing is also important for patients affected by early-onset illness, which is more often due to genetic causes. Although known genetic variation is present in only 10% to 15% of patients, awareness regarding specific genetic causes can deepen understanding of disease progression and enable elevated outcomes.

Our comprehensive Parkinson’s disease gene panel was developed by a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, geneticists, and laboratory testing experts, and includes genes known for causing Parkinson’s disease, but also genes that increase the likelihood of developing the condition.

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