Google co-founder finds he has Parkinson’s disease gene through 23andMe test

| September 20, 2008

The New York Times (9/19, C2, Helft) reports that on Thursday, Sergey Brin, a Google co-founder, announced, via his blog, "that he has a gene mutation that increases his likelihood of contracting Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that can impair speech, movement, and other functions." Specifically, "he carries a mutation of the LRRK2 gene, known as G2019S." While most "medical experts said that those who carry that gene mutation are more likely than not to live disease-free," about "30 percent of people with the gene mutation develop the disease," according to Susan B. Bressman, M.D., of New York’s Beth Israel Medical Center.

Notably, "Brin’s revelation came after using the genetic testing service 23andMe, which was co-founded by his wife, Anne Wojcicki, and in which Internet giant Google is an investor," according to the San Francisco Chronicle‘s (9/18, Kopytoff) The Tech Chronicles blog.

In the BBC‘s (9/18) blog, Darren Waters quoted Brin as saying, "This leaves me in a rather unique position" because "I now have the opportunity to adjust my life to reduce those odds (e.g. there is evidence that exercise may be protective against Parkinson’s)." He added, "I also have the opportunity to perform and support research into this disease long before it may affect me." The Los Angeles Times (9/18, Guynn) also covered the story in its Technology blog, as does the Wall Street Journal (9/19, Vascellaro) in its Business Technology blog.

Category: Genetics

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