Google founder Sergey Brin starts a blog, shares he's at risk for Parkinson's disease

One of the Google founders, Sergey Brin, started a blog hosted at Google's own called TOO.

Why TOO?

Sergey explains that "while Google is a play on googol, too is a play on the much smaller number - two. It also means “in addition”, as this blog reflects my life outside of work.”

Risk of Parkinson's Disease

In his second blog post, Sergey shares that he has a mutation in the gene LRRK2 which carries markedly higher chance (in the range of 20-80%) of developing Parkinson's disease:
"There is one particular mutation of the LRRK2 gene -- known as G2019S -- that, while rare even among people with the disease, accounts, in some ethnic groups, for a substantial proportion of familial Parkinson's.

I carry the G2019S mutation and when my mother checked her account, she saw she carries it too. It is clear that I have a markedly higher chance of developing Parkinson's in my lifetime than the average person. "
The test was carried out by a firm called 23andMe, the co-founder of which, Anne Wojcicki, is Brin's wife.

Sergey continues:
"This leaves me in a rather unique position. 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. And, regardless of my own health it can help my family members as well as others."
According to BBC, "Brin's public disclosure of his genetic test is also interesting. Brin is a very private man but in writing a blog he has exposed his private life in a way we have not seen before."

Many people will appreciate Sergey's candor but they will be seriously shaken by his choice of a color theme for his blog - the dark blue text on black background is barely readable (see the screenshot below):

Sergey Brin's blog TOO. The screenshot text has been enlarged.

Parkinson's Disease Overview - Mayo Clinic YouTube


Sergey Brin starts blog, tells of Parkinson's risk. CNet.
Sergey Brin Launches A Personal Blog, Talks About His Risk Of Parkinson’s. TechCrunch.
Image source: James Duncan Davidson/O'Reilly Media, Inc., Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.


Google Founder, Parkinson’s Disease and Good Marketing? ScienceRoll.
Genetic testing is available for approximately 2000 clinical conditions - Preparing for Precision Medicine - NEJM, 2012.
New Parkinson's Drug - delivery of levodopa in small intesting via pump - Cleveland Clinic - YouTube


  1. This is a classical example of the danger of genetic testing: the information can ONLY do him harm, as there are no preventive measures known.
    Wild genetic testing on the internet without professional counceling by responsible physicians will do no good!

  2. "...23andMe, co-founded by his wife": I don't like this sort of weird coincidence and I agree with what martin just stated.

  3. I've always been strangely fascinated by the Google founders, so thanks for the link.

  4. What a coincidences, indeed!
    23andme had just drastically lowered its price from $999 to $399.
    And organized a celebrity "spit party".
    Like Brin said elsewhere: "So, when my wife asked me to look up G2019S in my raw data (23andMe scientists had had the forethought to include it on their chip), I viewed it mostly as entertainment....."
    Good timing!
    (agree fully with Martin, + how well do these tests predict each disease??)