Does This Amish Family Have an Internal ‘Fountain of Youth’?

If you’d like to live longer, and healthier, it appears that an Amish family in Indiana may hold key secrets. 

A new study finds a group of Amish with a specific genetic mutation live 10-percent longer than relatives who do not have that mutation. It is the first genetic mutation that seems to protect against biological aging.

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Dr. Douglas Vaughan, a cardiologist and chair of medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, is the lead author of the study, which was published in the journal Science Advances last month.

Vaughan’s team studied an extended family of Old Order Amish living near Berne, Indiana, in which many members have the genetic mutation. Those with the mutation, in addition to living longer, have significantly fewer incidents of diabetes and lower fasting insulin levels, compared with family members without the mutation. 

Those with the mutation also had 10-percent longer telomeres, and lower levels of the protein PAI-1, both markers of longevity. 

Japanese researchers are already conducting human trials on a drug which lowers PAI-1 levels for other reasons. This new finding suggests these drugs could at some point be useful for promoting longer and healthier lives. 

Vaughan joins us in discussion. Learn more about the study below.

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