Media Spotlight

AMISH MUTATION PROTECTS AGAINST DIABETES AND MAY EXTEND LIFE

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Amish people living in a rural part of Indiana have a rare genetic mutation that protects them from Type 2 diabetes and appears to significantly extend their life spans, according to a new study published in Science Advances. The mutation affects a mysterious protein called plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, or PAI-1, that is known primarily for its role in promoting blood clotting.

Douglas Vaughan, MD, chair of Medicine, took a team of 40 investigators to Berne, Indiana, set up testing stations in a recreation center, and spent two days doing extensive tests on 177 members of the community, many of whom arrived by horse and buggy. “Some of the young men we collected blood from fainted because they had never had a needle stick in their life,” said Vaughan. What he and his colleagues discovered was striking. Amish carriers of the mutation live on average to age 85, about 10 years longer than their peers. Among the Amish who did not have the mutation, the rate of Type 2 diabetes was 7 percent. But for carriers of the mutation, the rate was zero, despite leading the same lifestyle and consuming similar diets.

Read more about this research in the Fall 2016 issue of Northwestern Medicine magazine.

 

photo courtesy of Novocure

ELECTRIC FIELDS THERAPY SHOWS PROMISE FOR BRAIN CANCER PATIENTS

ABC NEWS

“My patients have been going skiing,” said Roger Stupp, MD, chief of Neuro-oncology in the Department of Neurology and lead author of a study published in JAMA that tested a home-based electrical field treatment known as tumor-treating fields to help patients with glioblastoma. The treatment, for most, is surprisingly manageable. Doctors place four electrodes on a patient’s shaved scalp, where they’re worn for most of the day. The electrodes create low-intensity electrical fields within the brain that kill dividing cells. “I have a patient who I met here in Chicago who has gone on a safari in Africa twice now,” Stupp said.

 

OBESITY, POVERTY HELP EXPLAIN HIGHER DIABETES RISK FOR U.S. BLACKS

REUTERS

Even though black adults are more likely to develop diabetes than white adults, the increased risk is largely due to obesity and other risk factors that may be possible to change, a U.S. study published in JAMA suggests. “To eliminate the higher rate of diabetes, everybody needs to have access to healthy foods, safe spaces for physical activity and equal economic opportunity to have enough money to afford these things and live in communities that offer this,” said lead author Michael Bancks, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Preventive Medicine at Feinberg.