January 16, 2020

No one knew why some Amish children were dying suddenly, now researchers have some answers

By Karl Oestreich
CNN Health

by Harmeet Kaur

After the deaths of the first two children, a medical examiner who conducted the autopsies got in touch with researchers at the Mayo Clinic Windland Smith Rice Sudden Death Genomics Laboratory in 2004. Researchers at the lab had pioneered the concept of molecular autopsy, using genetic testing to understand the cause of death in sudden unexplained cases, and the examiner wanted to see if they could shed light on the mystery affecting the Amish community.

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Post-Bulletin, A deadly DNA mystery, solved

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Context: Researchers used post-mortem genetic testing to find the underlying cause of multiple sudden deaths in young people and sudden cardiac arrests in two large Amish families.

Using an exome molecular autopsy, Michael Ackerman, M.D., Ph.D., and his associates conducted genetic testing of four siblings who each died suddenly during exercise. Dr. Ackerman is a genetic cardiologist and director of the Windland Smith Rice Comprehensive Sudden Cardiac Death Program at Mayo Clinic. The findings are published in JAMA Cardiology. Dr. Ackerman is the senior author.

You can learn more about the research on Mayo Clinic News Network.

Contact: Terri Malloy

Tags: CNN, David Tester, Dr. Michael Ackerman, Uncategorized, Windland Smith Rice Comprehensive Sudden Cardiac Death Program

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