A genetic study of Pennsylvania's reclusive Amish community has led to the discovery of a gene that may trigger high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks and stroke. The gene variant, dubbed STK39, regulates sodium levels leading to greater blood volume and high blood pressure, reports Health Day.
The Amish are ideal for such studies because they are isolated and have similar diets. "We're now going back to the Amish to study how these people react to different hypertension medications," said a researcher of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "This can help us find the best medication for hypertension in individual cases."