Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Amish Mutation Protects Against Diabetes and May Extend Life

Anahad O'Connor

In a rural part of Indiana, Amish people have a rare genetic mutation that protects them from getting Type 2 diabetes which has extended their life spans. Researchers say that studying this mutation could lead to new therapies for chronic diseases and they are planning a follow up trial that will recreate the study and see its affect on obese people with insulin resistance. 
The mutation affects a protein called plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, or PAI-1 that is known for promoting blood clotting. 5% of the community carries the mutation and causes them to produce unusually low levels of PAI-1. 
Dr. Vaughan studied the population with low levels of this protein and found that Amish carriers of the mutation live on average to age 85 and about 10 years longer than their peers. And the Amish that did not have the mutation had about 7% with Type 2 diabetes, but for carriers, the rate was 0% and they had 28% lower levels of insulin. Dr. Vaughan states, "“This is a terrific indicator that the mutation actually protected them from a metabolic consequence of aging.” 
Because the Amish are reserved, this study is even more important because it is not often that scientists can openly study the population and find out about their medical histories. The scientists are still unclear how, but they now believe that PAI-1 somehow accelerates the aging process. In the future they are looking to do more studies with the Amish to find out more about this gene mutation. 


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