Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

23andme

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According to Wikipedia:

23andMe is a privately held personal genomics and biotechnology company based in Mountain View, California that claims to be developing new methods and technologies that will enable consumers to understand their own genetic information. The company is named for the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a normal human cell.

One of the company’s co-founders is Anne Wojcicki who is married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, whose mother has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Google have invested several million dollars in 23andme, which has – unsurprisingly – evolved a special interest in investigating the genetic background of Parkinson’s, as noted in this Bloomberg article. The genetics company is working alongside two American research foundations, the Parkinson’s Institute, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. You may also be interested in the information sheet that Parkinson’s UK have produced about the initiative.

At the time of writing, genetic testing is offered for free (worldwide) if you have a confirmed diagnosis of Parkinson’s. Other interested people can now purchase the service for $99. Or half that price if you know someone who’s recently sent a sample for testing…

I sent off for a ‘spit kit’. It consisted of a tube with a special funnel arrangement that you spit into. The saliva thus collected can be used to analyse the donor’s genetic makeup. I also got a free gift, which was – in my case – a folding hairbrush/mirror thing with a pill case included in the handle. Quite cute, in its way, and the hairbrush works tolerably well. I’ve returned my sample and am awaiting the results…

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