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23 and Me

A couple of months ago I was contacted by the genetics company 23 and Me to participate in a genetics study on bipolar.

I have been talking to my wife for almost two years about doing the 23 and Me thing anyway, just because I thought it was pretty cool and wanted to have a more defined outlook on my genetics. Being a science nerd, I just find it interesting. But also, two of my former psychiatrists have done genetics on me and both told me I have an “interesting combination”, at least as it pertains to medication.

But mostly, I just think it is fun and could be pretty eye-opening. For example, my grandmother on my father’s side has a family name of Burns. And she claims that it is an Irish name, despite having a Scottish spelling (the Irish version would be Berns). However, there is a very small Irish village where this particular surname in this spelling derives from. So, if I turn out to be Irish and not Scottish, then I will have a pretty fantastic glimpse into a very specific place in my lineage.

We never did pull the trigger on doing the testing though. To be honest, we weren’t going to use 23 and Me. They do a lot of genetics research, and part of the profile you get with them is about your likelihood to develop certain diseases. I kinda wanted to avoid that.

But then, they came a callin’.

I received an email in July asking if I wanted to participate in a study of genetics and bipolar. They are hoping to identify and clarify which genes are associated with the disease. So, in exchange for a free genetic assessment that they normally charge like $100 for, I have to do monthly exercises and questionnaires that take about an hour each.

They never mentioned how they found me, but I imagine it was either through this website, or maybe a donors list to NAMI or IBPF. Either way, I was happy to provide whatever information I can. I hope that I can contribute to a cure in some way.

And hey, I get to find out some pretty cool stuff in the process.

I am posting this today because today is the day I dropped my DNA collection kit in the mail to send back. I am halfway done with the surveys and everything they asked for, and they say I should get results in 4-5 weeks. I don’t really know how accurate that is.

If any of you have done 23 and Me, or any other of the genetic testing sites, post a comment about your experience. I am very excited about it!