“‘There’s a lot you can do for your child with 99 dollars,’ explains Fast Company’s Elizabeth Murphy, who opted to get her adopted 5-year-old daughter’s genes tested by 23andMe, a startup founded by Anne Wojcicki that’s been funded to the tune of $126 million by Google, Sergey Brin (Wojcicki’s now-separated spouse), Yuri Milner, and others. So, how’d that work out? ‘My daughter,’ writes Murphy, ‘who is learning to read and tie her shoes, has two copies of the APOE-4 variant, the strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s. According to her 23andMe results, she has a 55% chance of contracting the disease between the ages of 65 and 79.’ So, what is 23andMe’s advice for the worried Mom? ‘You have this potential now to engage her in all kinds of activities,’ said Wojcicki. ‘Do you get her focused on her exercise and what she’s eating, and doing brain games and more math?’ Duke associate professor of public policy Don Taylor had more comforting advice for Murphy. ‘It’s possible the best thing you can do is burn that damn report and never think of it again,’ he said. ‘I’m just talking now as a parent. Do not wreck yourself about your 5-year-old getting Alzheimer’s. Worry more about the fact that when she’s a teenager she might be driving around in cars with drunk boys.'”
Just cause some people will have a stroke doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do it—some diseases are completely manageable if you know you have them. Don’t expect docs to do outside of the box thinking for rare diseases. Especially since everybody has a rare disease—odds alone with tens of thousands of rare illnesses.