After a day’s work at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, Sergey Brin drives up the road to a local pool. There, he steps out on a 3-meter springboard, looks at the water below, and dives. Brin is competent at all four types of springboard diving—forward, back, reverse, and inward.
In addition to fittness, another benefit is: With every dive, Brin gains a little bit of leverage against a risk, looming somewhere out there, that someday he may develop the neurodegenerative disorder Parkinson’s disease. Buried deep within each cell in Brin’s body—in a gene called LRRK2, which sits on 12th chromosome—is a genetic mutation that has been associated with higher rates of Parkinson’s.
Brin has contributed some $50 million to Parkinson’s research, enough, he figures, to “really move the needle.” In light of the uptick in research into drug treatments and possible cures, Brin adjusts his overall risk again, down to “somewhere under 10%.” That’s still 10 times the average, but it goes a long way to counterbalancing his genetic predisposition.