(Mirror Daily, United States) – Researchers found that some of the members of the Amish community in Indiana have developed a rare genetic mutation that shields them from premature aging and Type 2 diabetes.
A research paper detailing the findings was published Nov. 15 in the journal Science Advances.
The newly-discovered process could help scientists better understand cellular aging and could pave the way to new therapies. The research team plans to run a follow-up trial that would study the impact of the mutation on overweight people at risk of diabetes.
The so-called ‘Amish mutation’ affects a protein called PAI-1 which is mainly responsible for blood clotting. Around 5 percent of the Amish people carry the mutation, which is why they have blood clotting problems.
However, the protein has other functions including anti-aging properties. A separate study revealed that laboratory mice who had been genetically altered to produce more PAI-1s aged quicker than their normal peers. Those mice went bald quicker and died of cardiovascular conditions at an early age in the experiment.
Amish Community and Their Health
Humans with high amounts of the protein in their bloodstreams tend to develop diabetes and die earlier than people with normal levels of PAI-1. Some Amish people in Indiana naturally produce lower levels of the protein so researchers followed them for two years.
The Amish agreed to have their hearts tested and undergo pulmonary and cardiac function. Some of the Amish men who donated blood samples fainted because it was the first time in their lives they underwent such experience.
Study authors found that the Amish people with the gene mutation lived up to the age 85 on average. Those who did not have the mutation were at a 7% risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while those with the mutation had a zero risk.
Insulin levels were 28 percent lower in mutation carriers than in other Amish people despite the two groups having the same diets and leading similar lifestyles.
Image Source: Flickr
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