March 15, 2009

Brin to finance Parkinson’s study

The forces behind Google say they're joining with two U.S. charities to find 10,000 participants for Parkinson's research.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin and 23andMe, co-founded by his wife Ann Wojcocki, have teamed with the Parkinson's Institute of California, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation of New York to try to find a cure for the ailment that affects 4 million people worldwide, Health News reported Sunday.

The two charities are letting 23andMe, a genome company, invite their members to be tested, via a mail-in spit kit, about their genetic makeup for a $25 fee, Health News reported. The test usually costs close to $400 and Brin said plans to make up the difference.

Participants will complete online surveys on symptoms, history, medications and their disease progression in the hope that combining the data via the Internet can speed up the process of gaining new knowledge about Parkinson's and ways to treat the condition, said Wojcocki.

Fox suffers from Parkinson's as does Brin's mother. Brin, himself, carries a gene variant that increase his odds of developing the condition, said Wojcocki.

Parkinson's can lead to debilitating trembling and shaking of the hands and other body parts and an inability to control movements.