Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make an appointment, or get more information about genetic testing?

To schedule an appointment or for more information, please call 312.695.7950. Click here to have a nurse contact you.

What is genetic testing?

Genetic testing is a process used to identify gene mutations. The results of a genetic test can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition, or help determine a person's chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder. Understanding these results also helps researchers develop therapies to better treat diseases like movement disorders.

What is the difference between commercial genetic testing and research genetic testing?

In commercial genetic testing, the physician orders tests for genetic causes of movement disorders, and the genetic sample is sent to an accredited commercial lab to be tested. Commercial labs only test for a subset of genetic mutations that are well described and validated. The cost of commercial testing varies, but may be covered by your insurance. In research genetic testing, scientists will test for known as well as new, previously undescribed genes, and the genetic sample is tested in a research laboratory setting. Research testing may take longer than commercial testing, but is usually performed free of charge. Your team will recommend the best testing method for you.

How is genetic testing performed?

Most likely, you will be asked to provide a DNA sample – usually blood or saliva.

Do I have to pay for genetic testing?

The cost of genetic testing varies depending on the method of testing, the genes tested and your insurance. If there are costs associated with your specific tests, our team will discuss those fees with you prior to testing.

Should I be tested?

A genetic counselor can help you determine how and if genetic testing may help you and your family. Genetic testing may be appropriate if:

  • You have early onset disease or unusual symptoms
  • You have family members with a movement disorder and want to know if you are a carrier of the gene mutation
  • You have been diagnosed with a movement disorder and want to know the risk of passing it on to your children
  • You have been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease or Wilson’s disease
  • You have been diagnosed with a rare movement disorder

What are the benefits of genetic testing?

For patients like you, the decision to have genetic testing can be difficult, but there are benefits. Many patients choose to be tested for a number of reasons, including:

  • Your results, either positive or negative, can provide a sense of relief from the uncertainty of ‘not knowing.’
  • If you are considering starting a family, genetic testing can determine your risk of passing a disease on to your children.
  • If your results are positive, starting treatment as soon as possible may be helpful.
  • An accurate diagnosis may alter your treatment plan, which can lead to better outcomes.

What is the Biorepository Program?

You and your family members may be asked to donate blood or saliva as part of our Biorepository Program. These samples, along with other data, will be used to study your disease and develop treatments aimed at improving quality of life and finding a cure for movement disorders. Your participation is completely optional. Learn more about our biorepository program.

How long will it take to get my results?

Determining the genetic cause of a movement disorder can be challenging and the length of time needed to identify the cause of your condition depends on many factors, including the genes tested.

Northwestern Medicine Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center

Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Galter Pavilion
675 N. St. Clair Street
Suite 20-100
Chicago, IL 60611
Main Number: 312.695.7950

We are located in the Galter Pavilion of Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH). Northwestern Memorial Hospital is one of the nation's pre-eminent academic medical centers and is equipped with advanced diagnostic and therapeutic modalities.

Making an appointment

To schedule an appointment or for more information, please call 312.695.7950.

Have a Nurse Contact Me