Or, when technology met some seriously orthodox, tech-averse people living in the midst of some 250 tech-lovers -- the Amish. In health sciences, "genetic medicine" is about as hi-tech as it gets.
This wonderful (but long) article in the New York Times by Lisa Belkin explains the Amish angle to modern (read technology-driven) medicine. The connection is because the Amish are ideal for studies in this new, new thing in medicine.
At first, the juxtaposition seems a paradox - this simple culture being treated at Morton's high-tech clinic, which sits literally in the middle of an alfalfa field in Strasburg, Pa. But look more closely, and it makes perfect sense. These groups, known collectively as the Plain People, have long been entwined with genetic research in the United States. Because members keep to themselves and marry within their communities, they rarely get to shuffle their genetic decks, and they are afflicted with a wide variety of rare diseases in far greater frequency than the population as a whole. For more than 30 years, genetic researchers have flocked here to study them, identifying the mutations that cause dozens of disorders by using samples of Amish and Mennonite blood. (McKusick's groundbreaking book, "Medical Genetic Studies of the Amish," was published back in 1978.) Most researchers, though, swoop in from their universities, collect their samples, then return to their labs. Morton is the first who has stayed, not just researching but also treating - taking tomorrow's health care to a world that lives in yesterday.