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Sunday, July 7, 2013

23andMe; Why I Spit for PD

23andMe is a personal genetics company based out of California, and as a research partner with the Michael J Fox Foundation, they are trying to find genetic markers for Parkinson's disease and those already diagnosed with Parkinson's can get their tests done for free. 

I ordered my free testing kit more than a year ago. It was easy; spit in a tube, send it back, fill out some surveys online. My results were surprising though. There is absolutely no doubt that I have Parkinson's disease and yet my results came back saying I was "Below average" risk for Parkinson's. My results also said I have a "Below average" risk for breast cancer as well. Looks like even my genetic profile has a warped sense of humor!
YumaBev's DNA results for Parkinson's 

How can this be? Well, it just means that my Parkinson's isn't due to one of the known genetic mutations, such as LRRK2 that has been making the news lately. So, how did I end up with Parkinson's?

My Mom
Soup. Yes, soup. When my Mom's egg and my Dad's sperm got together, a pot of genetic soup was created from combinations of each of their respective DNA. My DNA soup dictated that I would get my Mom's hourglass figure, button nose and her phenomenal sense of humor. Unfortunately, it also dictated that I would have my Dad's thin straight oily hair, his big crooked teeth and quite possibly HIS Parkinson's as well. Things could have been worse; I could have had his nose.
My Dad

As for my breast cancer, I'm pretty sure my genetic soup had nothing to do with it. I think my breast cancer was caused by a hormone replacement therapy drug prescribed to me by a local gynecologist back in 2010. 

I am not complaining about my soup. Sure, I wish I didn't have Parkinson's, I wish I had thick curly hair, too. But I do have Parkinson's and my hair is getting thinner every year. As for the breast cancer, I am upset, I was NEVER told this medication could cause breast cancer!

So, if you have Parkinson's, won't you consider spitting for 23andMe? Maybe, just maybe, our collective giant pot of Parkie soup might one day, lead to a test for Parkinson's or even a cure. 

IF you haven't been diagnosed with Parkinson's and are still interested in getting your DNA soup analyzed, you still can by following this link 23andme for non Parkies! There may be an extra shipping fee if you are not in the USA.

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