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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.

Clicking on the colored words will open a new window and take you to a different story or link.


  1. 23andme looks to be a great site. Thanks for sharing! :-)

  2. 23andme is amazing! I have over 1800 relatives and on my dad's profile, there are 900 relatives! I've contacted lots of these relatives via email, and asked them if they know of any Parkinsons in their family histories. Several say they do, and I've even found some of these people on my tree. We have traced PD on my father's side all the way back to the 1700s, from some of our first ancestors who came to the US. I bet that it goes further back, but it's too far back for anyone to know. It's a Hit and Miss PD Gene that is being passed down through the generations. 23andme is studying these genes from everyone to try to find the KEY to what causes PD and eventually to find the Cure!

  3. I just ordered my 23andMe kit. We have five family members with Parkinson's. It will be interesting to see what my risk factor looks like. I think in my family it may be related to a mitochondrial disorder.

  4. I sent mine in yesterday. Will drop you a message when I get the results back.

  5. it's so great to see people with PD participating in research! thanks for spitting (you don't say that too often!!) :)

  6. I have sent this info to my brother who was diagnosed with PD at 40.

  7. This will certainly be interesting to find out because as far as any of my siblings know, there is no one in my family with a diagnosis of PD until me. Of course I realize it has to start somewhere, I guess...

  8. My results show an increased risk for Parkinson's (not diagnosed yet) and unfortunately some surprises about my parentage! Oooppps!