Google Co-founder Says He's Predisposed to Parkinson's Disease

by VR Sreeraman on Sep 21 2008 12:10 PM

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has launched a personal blog, on which he has revealed that he has a genetic mutation that increases his chances of contracting Parkinson's Disease.

Brin, whose mother suffers from the disease, also plugged his wife's genetic testing company.

He said that he discovered he carried the gene mutation - G2019S - that is tied to Parkinson's disease through the DNA company 23andMe, a firm co-founded by his wife.

Brin said he had a 20 per cent to 80 per cent higher chance of developing Parkinson's in his lifetime than the average person.

Parkinson's, which is not hereditary, is a degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system that can cause tremors and impairs the sufferer's motor skills. There is no cure.

Brin married Anne Wojcicki in the Bahamas in 2007. Barely a month later Google invested 3.9 million dollars in her company, 23andMe.

Charging 399 dollars for a test, the biotechnology company seeks to help people understand more about their genetic make-up and the risk of various diseases.

Australian experts have already warned that genetic tests ordered over the internet are flawed and could make people unnecessarily fearful.

Brin, 35, wrote on his blog that he felt fortunate to have a better idea of the conditions he may develop in his old age.

"This leaves me in a rather unique position. I know early in my life something I am substantially predisposed to," he wrote on the blog, which he has dubbed "Too".

"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). I also have the opportunity to perform and support research into this disease long before it may affect me. And, regardless of my own health it can help my family members as well as others," Sydney Morning Herald quoted him, as stating on his blog.