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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 1:00 am

Furthermore ...

Berne's contribution to science

Northern Indiana members of the Amish community participated in a medical study recently published in the journal Science Advances, with findings researchers believe could produce new therapies for chronic diseases, according to the New York Times.

A cardiologist at Northwestern University and a team of 40 researchers tested 177 residents of Berne, confirming a rare genetic mutation that protects them from Type 2 diabetes and seems to extend a person's lifespan by an average of 10 years. 

The mutation, first identified in 1991, causes members of the isolated community to produce low levels of a protein called plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, or PAI-1, that is known to promote blood clotting. Among the test subjects without the mutation, the rate of Type 2 diabetes was 7 percent. There were no cases of diabetes in those with the mutation, even though they had similar lifestyles and diets.

“Diabetes is something that develops more as we age,” said Douglas Vaughan, chairman of medicine at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine. “This is a terrific indicator that the mutation actually protected them from a metabolic consequence of aging.”