Health Briefs

Genius: Researchers from 15 countries, including Emory's Jonathan Glass, collaborated to map 1,861 DNA profiles and find a new ALS gene.

New ALS Gene Found

An international consortium of researchers from Project MinE, the largest-ever study of inherited amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), has identified a new ALS gene, named NEK1.

Researchers and ALS associations from 15 countries, including Jonathan Glass, director of the Emory ALS Center and professor of neurology and pathology at the School of Medicine, collaborated on this genome-wide association study.

In an article published in July in Nature Genetics, the researchers identified a total of six genetic regions that were found to increase the risk of ALS.

While 10 percent of ALS is genetic, the other 90 percent of cases are considered sporadic. But it’s very likely that genetics contribute, directly or indirectly, to a much larger percentage of ALS cases.

By mapping the full DNA profiles of 1,861 individuals and combining this with a “snapshot” of genetic data from the other participants, researchers were able to find six regions where genetic variations increase the risk of ALS. Three of the regions were already known.

Funding for the US portion of the genetic research program came from the ALS Association through donations raised during the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

“This is an important discovery and provides a new target for development of future treatments,” Glass says.

Emory Hospitals Among the Best

For the fifth year in a row, US News & World Report has ranked Emory University Hospital the No. 1 hospital in both Georgia and metro Atlanta in its 2016–2017 Best Hospitals Guide. Emory University Hospital includes Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital and Emory University Hospital at Wesley Woods.

Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital increased its ranking to 2nd in Georgia and 2nd in metro Atlanta. Emory University Hospital Midtown increased its ranking to 9th in Georgia and remained 5th in metro Atlanta. Emory University Hospital ranked nationally in six specialties.

For more on the rankings, access

New Partnership for Emory Healthcare

Emory Healthcare has partnered with Stratus Healthcare to improve the delivery and quality of health care in Georgia.

The affiliation—which supports Stratus Healthcare’s 21 hospitals and approximately 1,500 physicians with Emory Healthcare’s extensive specialized medical services and educational strengths—creates the largest alliance of health care providers in the Southeastern United States and will enhance telemedicine, clinical research participation, knowledge transfer and education, workforce planning, and enhanced clinical service offerings for both systems.

“Our focus in establishing this innovative partnership is to build strong institution-to-institution affiliations with hospitals and physicians across Georgia in order to benefit an even greater number of Georgians with complex health care needs,” said Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, Emory’s Executive Vice President of Health Affairs and CEO of Emory Healthcare.

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