Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Rare Gene Found Among Amish Populations Help Protect Against Heart Disease


Researchers have found a rare gene variant among Amish people that may provide protective effects against heart disease. In this study the researchers explain that among 7,000 Amish individuals studied, some contain a gene variant tied to reduction in LDL cholesterol and fibrinogen. This cholesterol is colloquially named "Bad cholesterol" as it collects in the walls of blood vessels and can lead to heart attacks and strokes if high concentrations are found in the bloodstream. Fibrinogen is a protein marker of inflammation, and can lead to heart disease in some cases. As such, lowered amounts of these two compounds would lead to less heart disease risk. 

The researchers analyzed about 6,900 members of an Amish community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Of these individuals, 6% carried the gene variant called B4GALT1, which lowered LDL cholesterol and fibrinogen levels.  While 6% is exceedingly rare, the discovery of this gene may prove useful in development of heart disease treatments in the future. A lot of works still needs to be done, like the gene variant's mechanism of action, as well as if it has any negative effects. However, once these variables are determined, there may be hope of developing heart disease treatments using this information. 

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