[LINK] positive application of Google

Jan Whitaker 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
>1 Comment
>  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.
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>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
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.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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