Google co-founder Sergey Brin at Genetic Risk for Parkinson’s Disease

It’s been almost three years since direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing became available. One of the companies that performs this service is (23 referring to the number of chromosomes in either a human sperm or egg). 23andMe was co-founded by Anne Wojcicki who happens to be married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin. About a year ago, Mr. Brin had his own DNA tested by his wife’s company and discovered that he has a mutation in a gene that puts him at high risk  for developing the same disease that affects Michael J. Fox. Mr. Brin has a 1 in 4 chance of developing the disease by age 59 and 3 in 4 chance of getting it by the time he’s 79 years old. His response was to go public with this information and also pledge to fund a large research study to learn more about how to prevent or cure this disease. Mr. Brin’s financial contribution is being administered through the Michael J. Fox Foundation, an unusual instance of two celebrities (one from the business world and one from the entertainment world) banding together to use their fortune and fame to advance medical research.

Information on Parkinson’s Disease

Information on Genetic Testing and Genetic Discrimination
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Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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