Ahead of I/O 2013, Google CEO Larry Page has revealed that he has been suffering from vocal cord paralysis, but said the ailment will not affect his ability to lead the search giant.
In researching the condition, Page has decided to fund a research programme through the Voice Health Institute that will focus on how to improve vocal cord nerve function.
In a Google+ post, Page said he was first afflicted by vocal cord paralysis 14 years ago after coming down with a bad cold. At the time, however, it only impacted his left vocal cord.
It "never really affected me — other than having a slightly weaker voice than normal which some people think sounded a little funny," Page wrote.
He was concerned about the right vocal cord, "but I was told that sequential paralysis of one vocal cord following another is extremely rare," he added.
"Fast forward to last summer, when the same pattern repeated itself — a cold followed by a hoarse voice," Page said. "Once again things didn't fully improve, so I went in for a check-up and was told that my second vocal cord now had limited movement as well."
Page's condition required him to miss an earnings call and Google I/O last year, raising questions about his health. When he did appear, his voice was hoarse.
"Thankfully, after some initial recovery I'm fully able to do all I need to at home and at work, though my voice is softer than before," Page said today. Since vocal cord paralysis can affect breathing, Page also said he cannot exercise as vigorously as he might have in the past.
"Sergey [Brin] says I'm probably a better CEO because I choose my words more carefully," he quipped. "So surprisingly, overall I am feeling very lucky."
Page said doctors have been unable to determine what caused the paralysis. In researching the condition, however, the Google chief met Dr. Steven Zeitels from the Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital Voice Center, who Page has selected to lead the research programme.
To start things off, the project will be collecting data from other people with the same condition. The survey is now live on voicehealth.org.
"It's fairly rare, there's little data available today — and the team hopes that with more information they can make faster progress," Page noted.
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