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Google Medicine

Larry Page's Vocal Cords Are Partially Paralyzed 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the strong-silent-type dept.
theodp writes "Last summer, unspecified voice problems caused Google CEO Larry Page to miss Google's Annual Shareholder Meeting, the I/O conference, and a quarterly earnings call. Now, Page has come forward and revealed that he suffers from partial paralysis of each of his vocal chords, an 'extremely rare' condition. Not unlike what Sergey Brin and his wife are doing with Parkinson's research, Page and his wife will be funding and overseeing 'a significant research program' led by Dr. Steven Zeitels of Harvard Medical School."
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Larry Page's Vocal Cords Are Partially Paralyzed

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  • Only when (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @04:24AM (#43729701)

    all the rich people get all the world diseases, will the funding start..

    • Re:Only when (Score:5, Insightful)

      by werewolf1031 (869837) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @06:42AM (#43730159)

      all the rich people get all the world diseases, will the funding start..

      Not everything that improves health and quality of life for many, needs to be done for purely altruistic motivation. Better to have research funded for selfish reasons - which then benefits others as well - than to not have the research done at all.

    • I suspect to see more CEOs will be developing this condition . . . right around the time to report earnings and analyst conference calls.

    • How much did you care about this disease, 12 hours ago?

    • I wish my wife would get this disease.

  • by Foske (144771) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @04:31AM (#43729729)

    No matter the number of digits in your bank account, in the end you're still human... A very complex and wonderful piece of engineering, way above the complexity that we understand. Kudos for funding research, and all the best for this man...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @04:47AM (#43729775)

      ...A very complex and wonderful piece of engineering, way above the complexity that we understand...

      You're talking about perl here, right?

    • And what do we learn from this ?

      No matter the number of digits in your bank account, in the end you're still human...

      You mean to tell us you never expected this until today's epiphany?

      And all the best wishes to Larry from me too.

    • by GauteL (29207)

      "A very complex and wonderful piece of engineering"

      On the contrary. We suffer from severe race conditions in the brain, we have obsolete and potentially dangerous "features" (i.e. the appendix). Replacement parts are hard to come by and we are very, very difficult to service. A simple service procedure can lead to catastrophic system failure. We're also got extremely poor interoperability with each other, leading to very large knowledge loss in transmission between systems and often disastrous and destructi

    • No matter the number of digits in your bank account, in the end you're still human.

      No matter how many digits King Louis XIV had in his bank account, he was still limited by the speed of horses for transportation and communication.

      "Immortality" will probably happen within this century or millennium.

      But then, we're ultimately limited [case.edu] by available matter/energy in the universe.

    • in the end you're still human... A very complex and wonderful piece of engineering, way above the complexity that we understand.

      Look up human. It means something that is exhibits some of the characteristics of a human, any stricter definition excludes folks with disabilities, which are actually human. That lowers the bars for machine intelligence to become human... I digress.

      Humans are pretty complex, but it's not above the ability for us to understand the complexity. A single human can specialize on familiarity with a small part of the human structure, there are enough such humans to divide humans into small enough pieces that their complexity can be fully knowable. We do know something of humans, we learn more every day, and what we have discovered doesn't point to them being engineered.

      If you were an engineer, would you supply blood to an eye's retina's cones from the back side, to allow the detection cones to be unobstructed, and avoid needing to route the blood through a hole in the visual field? It would seem a cephalopod is more likely to be engineered than a human, their retinas aren't flippin' upside down, so they don't have blindspots in their retinas like humans do!

      If you were an engineer, would you use larger longer vertebrae in one's vertical spine structure or a bunch of smaller ones? The advantage of the smaller bones is that they can swivel more, yet humans can turn only around 90 degrees due to the muscle and tendon configuration; The effect is just a series of small weak links in the spine's chain -- why are those lumbar vertebrae so damn small that they don't hold up over the intended lifetime of use and thus cause back problems? It would seem a giraffe is more likely to have been engineered than a human.

      The list of horribly inept design flaws in a human is staggering. Nerves, under the feet?! Hair that gets so oily you must wash it regularly? Embryonic yolk sacks that waste energy developing then disappear, unused? No. There is no evidence for an intelligent designer; I just can't believe that ANYONE would be this daft, especially when they supposedly created BETTER designs in other species first -- I mean, unless.... Unless Humans were meant to be the butt of some cruel genetic joke?!

      It would seem that if humans were engineered, it was a job undertaken by a malicious spite filled asshole, or an utterly unintelligent designer. This design looks like it was done haphazardly, perhaps by pure random chance, just slapping together features and picking the first model that doesn't break and meets the basic needs.

      Humans are not finely crafted organic machines, they're a hodge podge of tacked together features shipped to mother nature with apologies and promises of a patch for the bugs in the next version! It's foolish to think humans are a piece of engineering wonder. Oh, humans are complex, one marvels at the scale of things -- but the wonder is not at the beauty in engineering elegance, it's that they even function at all given the design flaws!

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        Do not confuse unengineered for your inability to understand the engineered decisions.

        You do know the problems with most of the human body is not the design of the body itself, but the inability of the humans to use it properly. USian focus on 'individuality' compounds the stupidity drastically. Compare group gymnastics by the USA to any asian country.

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        Nerves, under the feet?! Hair that gets so oily you must wash it regularly?

        What is wrong with nerves under the feet?

        Also, you *must* wash your hair? Yes, of course I wash it too, but most likely wetting it would do most of the same work. We're just being brain (and head) washed by the shampoo companies.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @04:44AM (#43729771)

    We go out and get those top 10 richest people on the planet... You know the ones that own 60% of the world and all the stuff in it...

    Infect them with aids.. Give them all cancer. Heck a whole bunch of diseases.. Toss in the flu and common cold.

    We'll have cures for all of it by the end of the year.

    It's time we start exploiting a valuable resource. Rich people.

    We're not currently using them for anything but placeholders...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @05:27AM (#43729909)

      No we won't. You obviously have no concept of the amount of money and time it takes to develop "cures" for most diseases. The personal wealth of these people is close to the order of magnitude of money that can be spent researching one of these diseases over the course of a single year and that doesn't even factor in the number of years (man hours and simply waiting for enough accurate data to be collected) it takes in the end to find a "cure," if there is one. [I wrote it as "cure" because I think the word is frequently used to infer a quick-acting, life term treatment when in many cases that is not and may never be possible]

      • by Ryanrule (1657199)

        Perhaps, but who cares? We are interested in the result here. One dies? Infect the next in line.

      • by Ash Vince (602485) * on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @08:04AM (#43730699) Journal

        No we won't. You obviously have no concept of the amount of money and time it takes to develop "cures" for most diseases. The personal wealth of these people is close to the order of magnitude of money that can be spent researching one of these diseases over the course of a single year and that doesn't even factor in the number of years (man hours and simply waiting for enough accurate data to be collected) it takes in the end to find a "cure," if there is one. [I wrote it as "cure" because I think the word is frequently used to infer a quick-acting, life term treatment when in many cases that is not and may never be possible]

        Most medical research nowadays is done by drug companies. They are not interested in "cures" they are interested in finding a drug to manage a particular condition, that way they get to make tons of money from all the repeat prescriptions of their creation. If they came up with a cure for that condition they only get the money from a single prescription.

        If they created a single pill that would cure and vaccinate you against all the worlds diseases they would all go bankrupt within a decade, even if they could sell the pill for $1 million.

        So who knows what is possible when the corporations who fund (and hence choose the direction of) most medical research are not interested in looking? Instead they come up with crap like Viagra as that is where the money is.

        • FWIW Viagra was an accident. It was originally developed as a treatment for hypertension.

        • by Pigeon451 (958201)

          I don't think you know how actual research works. There are many researchers working independently and even with drug companies to develop cures. A magic bullet that can cure a multitude of disease would make the people/company rich regardless of how much it actually costs.

          Unbelievable you actually got modded to +5...

        • by steelfood (895457)

          So who knows what is possible when the corporations who fund (and hence choose the direction of) most medical research are not interested in looking?

          I do. They'll just buy up the research when it's completed and bury it.

          Oil companies have been doing that for decades.

    • by Splab (574204)

      Erm, Steve Jobs died of cancer; a cancer that might very well have been treatable, had he not been absolutely mental and gone for "natural" cure.

      Not only do you need funding, you also need someone who believes in science (like Bill Gates, whom by the way does a heck of a lot for research).

      • by Viol8 (599362) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @06:21AM (#43730089)

        "a cancer that might very well have been treatable, had he not been absolutely mental and gone for "natural" cure."

        Yeah, its ironic isn't it that the man who ran such a high tech company reliant on cutting edge science would head off down the hippy bullshit road to cure himself of cancer instead of taking advantage of 50 years of medical research. It just shows that having a high IQ doesn't necessarily prevent someone from being a complete imbecile.

        • by sg_oneill (159032)

          Jobs was kind of always into the hippy shit. 60s lsd head and all that. He did realise eventually that it was time to hand it over to the pros. Unfortunately by that stage it was too late.

      • Re:I'm tellin ya... (Score:4, Informative)

        by sg_oneill (159032) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @07:16AM (#43730319)

        He had pancreatic cancer. Its generally one of those cancers where your fucked no matter how you try and attack it. He certainly didnt help his case with the daft hippy crap, but its unlikely a full science approach would have saved him.

        Pancreatic cancer is a death sentence generally.

        • Re:I'm tellin ya... (Score:5, Informative)

          by pseudofrog (570061) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @08:27AM (#43730907)
          Steve Jobs had a rare form of pancreatic cancer that can actually be cured in some cases, according to this interview [usatoday.com] and other sources. His doctors recommended a radical surgery to prevent it from spreading, but he delayed surgery for nine months because of his belief in non-scientific alternatives. It is unclear if this delay made a difference, but it's possible that he could have been full-blown cured had he opted for surgery right away.
        • The "death sentence" pancreatic cancer you are thinking of is pancreatic adenocarcinoma, which arises from the ducts, usually isn't detected until it has metastasized, and yes, has an average life span measured in months.
          Jobs had a neuroendocrine cancer, which arises from the islet cells, is generally detected earlier because it causes a variety of symptoms (too much insulin which leads to hypoglycemia, etc), and has a varying but generally fairly good prognosis. In fact in some cases, surgeons can just "
      • Re:I'm tellin ya... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tgd (2822) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @07:28AM (#43730409)

        Erm, Steve Jobs died of cancer; a cancer that might very well have been treatable, had he not been absolutely mental and gone for "natural" cure.

        Not only do you need funding, you also need someone who believes in science (like Bill Gates, whom by the way does a heck of a lot for research).

        One problem with very successful people -- they equate success in one field with success and expertise in all fields. Its a common problem, even among things like Nobel winners. They assume success (or luck) in their field makes them somehow an expert in anything they take an interest in.

        IMO, that's always been one of Gates' strong points -- he knew what he knew and knew what he didn't know, and always surrounded himself with people who could compliment his expertise. Jobs always seemed the exact opposite.

      • by Ash Vince (602485) *

        Erm, Steve Jobs died of cancer; a cancer that might very well have been treatable, had he not been absolutely mental and gone for "natural" cure.

        Not only do you need funding, you also need someone who believes in science (like Bill Gates, whom by the way does a heck of a lot for research).

        It is worth remembering that the only treatments for Pancreatic Cancer are: Surgery, Radiation Therapy or Chemotherapy. Ok, he probably should have gone down the surgery route sooner than he did (he waited nine months) but the other two options both suck.

        Many people choose to die of cancer rather that go through the shit of Chemo or Radiation Therapy as they both utterly ruin your quality of life for the time you have left for a very low probability of success anyway. By choosing to avoid these two treatmen

  • Prostate cancer (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Brin, who began donating to Parkinson’s research in 2005, accelerated that giving after he learned in 2008 he has a flawed gene that presents him with a 50 percent chance of getting the disease by age 70.

    But, regardless of genetic background, there's a higher probability of developing prostate cancer by the age of 70. From Wikipedia:

    Autopsy studies of Chinese, German, Israeli, Jamaican, Swedish, and Ugandan men who died of other causes have found prostate cancer in thirty percent of men in their 50s, and in eighty percent of men in their 70s.

    Also,

    People with prostate cancer generally encounter significant disparities in awareness, funding, media coverage, and research—and therefore, inferior treatment and poorer outcomes—compared to other cancers of equal prevalence. In 2001, The Guardian noted that Britain had 3,000 nurses specializing in breast cancer, compared to only one for prostate cancer. It also discovered that the waiting time between referral and diagnosis was two weeks for breast cancer but three months for prostate cancer. [it goes on...]

    Given these disparities, and since prostate cancer is far more prevalent than any of these genetic diseases, IMHO prostate cancer research would be a far better target for any donations.

    • Re:Prostate cancer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kiwikwi (2734467) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @07:06AM (#43730267)

      Prostate cancer is very common among older men, but it's more often an annoyance than a killer, since people usually die of other causes before the cancer can kill them.

      To quote the doctor treating one of my relatives, it's a cancer you die with, not of.

      The relative 5-year survival rate is nearly 100%. The relative 10-year survival rate is 98%. The 15-year relative survival rate is 93%.

      (US numbers) [cancer.org]

      That's why prostate cancer has low priority, compared to e.g. breast cancer, which has a relative 1-year survival rate of 96%, and 85% for 5 years (UK numbers [cancerresearchuk.org]).

    • James Waston, the 3rd man to have genome sequenced, had 28 serious genetic diseases according to the published article in Nature. Yet none of them had expressed. Steve Pinker said had the gene for male pattern baldness.
  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @05:04AM (#43729835)

    Don't yell as much at your employees, throw a chair once in a while.

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      Don't yell as much at your employees, throw a chair once in a while.

      I thought people were not listening.

  • Yup... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @06:02AM (#43730029)

    I had partial vocal cord paralysis for almost a year...it was miserable. It hurt to talk. I went to specialists, got scoped multiple times, and they said if it didn't clear up after a month or so, it was likely permanent. They put me on all kids of drugs, and then prepared speech therapy for me. I read up about it, but it's just crazy to understand first-hand how how of a gift it is to have the ability to speak. To simply communicate. I had to write down everything I wanted to say to people - and half my job was to speak and teach.

    That year was _not_ fun.

    There is a good ending: near the end of that year, I went to a dev camp for a week, but, I was diagnosed with a sinus infection right before I left. They gave me the regular jar of antibiotics. I got a chance to rest that week, and take my meds.

    Then I came home...the next day I went to the grocery store and gave them my order. The deli lady said "Oh...you've got your voice back...when did that happen?". I went home and said "Honey, I'm home". My wife was cried tears of joy, jumped up and gave me one of the biggest hugs of my life. I could talk again.

    It sounds like his case is more severe in nature, but here's hoping...you never know.

    -jm

    • Do you know which antibiotic, you never know it might have a specific application to this problem.

    • Your story is remarkable in similarity to my own. One of my vocal chords was paralyzed as a result of Polyarteritis Nodosa, an autoimmune disease that affects the vascular system. A few months after the paralysis I got bronchitis. My vocal chord recovered two days after I started taking antibiotics. I'd have to dig through my records to see if they bumped up my prednisone before or after the recovery. Maybe the medicine caused the recovery, or maybe the bronchitis somehow triggered my body to repair t
  • by Bob_Who (926234) <Bob&who,net> on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @06:23AM (#43730093) Homepage Journal

    Just couldn't resist....

  • This sucks for him. I had a colleague go through this last year. Luckily in her case it was temporary, stemming from a bad cold. Still, she couldn't speak above a whisper for 3 months.

  • I wonder whether Larry got vaccinated for rabies a month or two before the laryngeal paralysis became apparent.

    There's growing evidence that indiscriminate annual rabies vaccinations commonly performed on dogs & cats might be the root cause of the growing number of cases of laryngeal paralysis seen among pets in the US.

    At the macro level, the evidence is pretty compelling:

    * Laryngeal paralysis was practically unheard of in cats, and rare in dogs, until about 10 years ago... right around the time vaccin

  • Maybe he could meet my wife.

  • Long time NPR host Diane Rehm [thedianerehmshow.org] has suffered from the same condition. It kept her off the air for some months back in the '90s, but not permanently. The solution then, apparently, was an injection of something akin to botox.

  • Suggested last year: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/openvirgle/QukA-eEPXVg/_7XkmJ1iHA8J [google.com]

    I just posted this comment to that page:
    ----
    For some health advice on how to reduce the risk of further illnesses making this worse, please search for my post to the OpenVirgle Google group from 2012-06-23 entitled "Larry Page & Sergey Brin hopefully getting enough sunlight and vegetables?"

    An excerpt: "I can wonder if, like so many indoor-types people in the technology field, those two hard working guys are bot

  • Whats it with tech CEOs hidign serious health inssues?

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