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Study Of Amish Gut Shows Certain Bacteria Correlated To Metabolic Syndrome

August 16, 2012

Specific gut bacteria may be associated with metabolic syndrome traits, as determined by a study of Pennsylvania’s Old Order Amish population. The full results are reported on Aug. 15 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

The researchers, led by Claire M. Fraser of the Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, chose the Amish as subjects for their study due to their close genetic relationships, similar lifestyles, and low prescription drug usage, among other factors, all of which reduced the number of confounders in the study and helped the researchers find connections that may not have been apparent in a more varied population. The results of the study showed that some specific species, but not full gut communities, were associated either positively or negatively with metabolic syndrome traits.

“We can’t infer cause and effect, but it’s an important step forward that we’re starting to identify bacteria that are correlated with clinical parameters, which suggests that the gut microbiota could one day be targeted with medication, diet or lifestyle changes,” says Dr. Fraser.

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