Objective: Dopaminergic neurotransmission is known to be a potential modulator of risky behaviors including substance abuse, promiscuity, and gambling. Furthermore, observational studies have shown associations between risky behaviors and Parkinson's disease; however, the causal nature of these associations remains unclear. Thus, in this study, we examine causal associations between risky behavior phenotypes on Parkinson's disease using a Mendelian Randomization approach. Methods: We used two-sample Mendelian randomization to generate unconfounded estimates using summary statistics from two independent, large meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies on risk taking behaviors (n=370,771-939,908) and Parkinson's disease (cases: n=4127, controls: n = 62,037). We used inverse variance weighted as the main method for judging causality. Results: Our results support a strong protective association between the tendency to smoke and Parkinson's disease (OR=0.714 per log odds of ever smoking; 95% CI=0.568-0.897; p-value=0.0041; Cochran Q test; p-value=0.238; I2 index=6.3%). Furthermore, we observed risk association trends between automobile speed propensity as well as the number of sexual partners and Parkinson's disease after removal of overlapping loci with other risky traits (OR=1.986 for each standard deviation increase in normalized automobile speed propensity; 95% CI=1.215-3.243; p-value=0.0066, OR=1.635 for each standard deviation increase in number of sexual partners; 95% CI=1.165-2.293; p-value=0.0049). Interpretation: These findings provide support for a causal relationship between general risk tolerance and Parkinson's disease and may provide new insights in the pathogenic mechanisms leading to the development of Parkinson's disease.
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