[LINK] positive application of Google
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Tue Jul 6 08:37:05 AEST 2010
[don't know the source; was sent via another email list]
>Google founder Sergey Brin to use search engine to find cure for Parkinson's
>Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, is harnessing the power of his search
>engine in an attempt to find a cure for Parkinson's disease.
>By Nick Allen in Los Angeles
>Published: 4:20PM BST 02 Jul 2010
> Google co-founder Sergey Brin Photo: REUTERS
>Mr Brin, 36, is creating a database of information from thousands of
>sufferers and will use hi-tech computers to find links between them.
>Mr Brin, who is worth an estimated $17.5 billion (£11.5 billion), entered
>the medical research field after discovering several years ago that he has a
>high chance of developing Parkinson's himself.
> a.. Sergey Brin's USSR upbringing helped 'shape' Google's views on China
> b.. Google founder Sergey Brin to fund Parkinson's gene study
> c.. Google marks 5th anniversary
> d.. Professor Rajeev Motwani
> e.. Microsoft and Yahoo close to search deal
> f.. Technology tie-ups have a habit of crashing
>His mother Eugenia, a former Nasa mathematician, was diagnosed in 1999 and a
>genetic test put Mr Brin's own chances of developing the disease at 80 per
>The Google billionaire has described the pace of research into Parkinson's
>as "glacial" compared to developments on the internet, and hopes his methods
>will dramatically accelerate the search for a cure.
>He has invited 10,000 Parkinson's sufferers to take part in the project,
>asking them to pay a nominal fee to make sure they are committed. Around
>4,000 have already signed up.
>Those involved are sent a test kit, which they spit into and return for
>analysis. They are also asked to answer detailed questionnaires about their
>lifestyle, as environmental factors can affect chances of developing the
>Algorithms will be used to find meaningful patterns in the flood of data.
>Most previous research into Parkinson's has followed the traditional process
>of scientists coming up with a hypothesis and carrying out focused studies
>on smaller groups of patients.
>Mr Brin wants to reverse the process, collecting vast swathes of information
>first and then using computers to look for trends.
>Google has entered the health field before, quickly detecting outgreaks of
>flu and swine flu by tracking search queries entered by internet users
>around the world.
>In an interview with Wired magazine, Mr Brin said: "It just goes to show
>that when you apply our new found computational power to large amounts of
>data, and sometimes it's not perfect data, it can be very powerful.
>"We could be looking lots of places and collecting lots of information and,
>if we see a pattern, that could lead somewhere."
>Parkinson's is a degenerative neurological condition that impairs functions
>such as speech and movement. There is currently no cure for the disease.
>Around 10,000 people are diagnosed in Britain each year, with the first
>symptoms usually appearing in those over 50.
>Mr Brin is the latest in a long line of wealthy philanthropists who have
>tried to find a cure for their own conditions and has already contributed
>some $50 million (£30 million) to Parkinson's research.
>He discovered his increased chance of developing Parkinson's after taking a
>test offered by a genetic testing company called 23andMe, which is run by
>his wife, Anne Wojcicki.
>Google has invested more than $6 million (£4 million) in the company and Mr
>Brin has put in $10 million (£6 million) of his own. It is gathering the
>data for his Parkinson's study.
>His test showed he had inherited a mutation of the LRRK2 gene from his
>mother, increasing his own chances of developing Parkinson's. His one
>year-old son is also being tested for the mutation.
>In September 2008, after discovering he could develop Parkinson's, Mr Brin
>said: "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.
>"I have a better guess than almost anyone else for what ills may be mine and
>I have decades to prepare for it."
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Our truest response to the irrationality of the
world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer
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