Google's Brin blogs, says he's predisposed to Parkinson's

Brin says genetic mutation gives him higher chance than most of developing the disease

Google co-founder Sergey Brin Thursday became the first of the company's top three executives to launch a blog, and he immediately used the platform to reveal that he has a genetic mutation that predisposes him to developing Parkinson's disease.

In his first of two posts Thursday, Brin said he is calling the blog site "Too" in an effort to show its focus on life outside of work. In the second post, Brin noted that he found out that he carries the genetic mutation that predisposes him to Parkinson's after his wife's company, 23andMe, studied his DNA.

Brin goes on to note that researchers have been honing in on the genes that are responsible for familial cases of Parkinson's - the mutation of a gene called G2019S called LRRK2.

"Because there are only a small number of genes which are known to have a very substantial effect on health (e.g. 10 times the average risk), I felt the possibility of discovering something very important to my health was just a hypothetical exercise," Brin wrote. "So, when my wife asked me to look up [the gene mutation] in my raw data. I viewed it mostly as entertainment. But, of course, I learned something very important to me -- I carry the G2019S mutation and when my mother checked her account. She saw she carries it too."

Brin's mother and her aunt suffer from the disease, he reveals. While the exact implications of the gene mutation are not clear, Brin writes that he has a "markedly higher" chance of developing Parkinson's in his life - between 20 percent and 80 percent higher than a person without the mutation.

"This leaves me in a rather unique position," Brin added. "I know early in my life something I am substantially predisposed to. 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."

Brin closed out the post by saying he felt fortunate to be in the position he is in armed with the DNA analysis.

"Until the fountain of youth is discovered, all of us will have some conditions in our old age only we don't know what they will be," he added. "I have a better guess than almost anyone else for what ills may be mine - and I have decades to prepare for it."

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Heather Havenstein

Computerworld
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