e for what’s next.car e DISEASE Personalized Medicine Zeroes in on an Uncommon Form of Diabetes By Susan J. White DEMYSTIFIED M continued on page 6 4 CONNECTIONS FALL 2016 arathon runner and endurance athlete Susie Perkowitz has an edge this year that should help her score more than a faster time. A few years after being diagnosed with and treated for Type 2 diabetes, Perkowitz learned that she has a much lesser-known form of the disease: Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY). Perkowitz’s updated diagnosis came only after genetic testing at the NorthShore Center for Personalized Medicine, which confi rmed the gene abnor-mality for MODY. Today, the 41-year-old Deerfi eld resident has the right care plan for her form of diabetes and is on track for a much healthier future. HEALTH CHALLENGE There was a time when Perkowitz’s energy seemed limitless. She had success-fully completed grueling races: a high-altitude marathon called the TransRockies Run and a daunting rim-to-rim trek across the Grand Canyon. But last summer her pace slowed and Perkowitz found herself losing the battle to stay healthy. “I was getting sicker and sicker. It was so disheartening,” said Perkowitz, who experienced a host of health problems about three years after going on a Type 2 diabetes medication, including severe retinopathy that was stealing her vision. Perkowitz met with NorthShore Endocrinologist Lisa Purdy, MD, to deal head-on with her worsening symptoms. Recognizing the unusual nature of her patient’s condition, Dr. Purdy collaborated with fellow specialist and MODY researcher Liana Billings, MD, MMSc, lead physician of NorthShore’s Center for Personalized Medicine Diabetes Consultation Clinic. Both specialists hold academic appoint-ments at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. WATCH A VIDEO JOURNEY FOR ANSWERS Susie Perkowitz and Amanda Theisinger talk about NorthShore’s personalized medicine expertise and how it helped them better understand their lesser-known form of diabetes. Watch the video at northshore.org/modyvideo .