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Scientists find "master switch" gene for obesity

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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 07:50 AM
Original message
Scientists find "master switch" gene for obesity
(Reuters) - Scientists have found that a gene linked to diabetes and cholesterol is a "master switch" that controls other genes found in fat in the body, and say it should help in the search for treatments for obesity-related diseases.

In a study published in the journal Nature Genetics, the British researchers said that since fat plays an important role in peoples' susceptibility to metabolic diseases like obesity, heart disease and diabetes, the regulating gene could be target for drugs to treat such illnesses.

"This is the first major study that shows how small changes in one master regulator gene can cause a cascade of other metabolic effects in other genes," said Tim Spector of King's College London, who led the study.

More than half a billion people, or one in 10 adults worldwide, are obese and the numbers have doubled since the 1980s as the obesity epidemic has spilled over from wealthy into poorer nations.

the rest:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/15/us-obesity-ge...
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spooky3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 08:29 AM
Response to Original message
1. Wow, if this is confirmed, this is a very important breakthrough.
Thanks for posting.
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FLPanhandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 08:38 AM
Response to Original message
2. If the number of obesity cases has doubled since 1980, how is it genetic?
Edited on Mon May-16-11 08:38 AM by FLPanhandle
Families that didn't have any weight issues in the 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's now have offspring that are overweight, getting diabetes, and have high cholesterol. These offspring have the genetic makeup as their skinny fore-bearers.

Maybe some environmental element(s) is triggering the gene? Lack of exercise, too much sitting still, new higher calorie diets, etc.?
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Indydem Donating Member (866 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 08:44 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. The move from rural to urban/ argicultrure to manufacturing.
People used to wake up with the sun, labor until sundown with a small stop for a lunch pail in the middle. Now we work in factories standing at an assembly machine, or work in an office, and expect to be able to consume the same calories as our fore bearers with only half the calorie burn.

Not to mention TV, fast food, and HFCS. All these things have combined to make us fat.
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BanzaiBonnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. And before that, for most of human history
from consuming a mostly plant based diet supplemented by eggs and grass fed meat.

Lifestyle changes are the largest factor in our becoming large. Refined sugar and flour were cheap fuel for cheap human labor, which in turn fueled the industrial revolution.

Now that we are a more sedentary population, we no longer need as much fuel. We have a need for fuel that supports our body needs along with adequate sleep and exercise.
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eilen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 08:59 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Well, after doing some study, I have learned
Exercise is a very poor weight loss strategy, it is very good for other reasons but for weight loss it is inefficient. Calories in-calories out only works in machines, our body's fat collection is determined by the behavior of our hormones which do not follow the law of thermodynamics. Sure, reducing your calorie may help you lose some weight but only to a certain extent and only if you were eating an inordinately large number of calories to begin with. Your body does burn calories but the nature of the calories burnt (where the calories are coming from) vary between individuals. Once obese, your body behaves differently. It is in a state of inflammation and the usual behavior of your hormones is blunted. The fat does not leave the fat cells to provide energy like they are supposed to. Your cells do not accept the glucose cells for energy like they are supposed to. Your body then insists on more food and slows the engine down.

I would like to know the nature of this gene. Is it one that regulates hormones? Perhaps the gene may be triggered by an elevation of inflammation or stress hormones or perhaps by the decrease of some of the thyroid or leptin hormones or perhaps by the increase or decrease in insulin secreted (amt. circulating in the bloddstream). Or maybe it is the liver enzymes that are secreted in response to a high fructose/fatty liver? It is very fascinating to me.


Having met people who have tried every weight loss strategy under the sun to find them all ineffective after about a 6 month time period and remain stalled in their weight loss, this can be very good news.


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BanzaiBonnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Right on eilen!
Edited on Mon May-16-11 10:04 AM by BanzaiBonnie
I offer no more support for the pharma companies which only want to feed off of our pain.
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mistertrickster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Thank you . . . it should be obvious.
Otherwise people would just keep getting fatter and fatter.

A few do, but most people top out, even though they don't reduced their calorie intake.

The "calorie in-calorie out" model can't be true for many reasons.
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Johonny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #2
7. The cause isn't genetic but treatments can target certain genetic processes
"We are working hard...to understand these processes and how we can use this information to improve treatment of these conditions."



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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. It is not just calorie in and out
you pointed to these foods and GMOs... add to that insecticides that act like hormones in the body.

The genetic aspect might come in all this crap MAKING this gene express itself... aka become active.
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Scout Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. i just recently had a hair anaylsis...
very interesting results.

while my hormones may (or may not) be fine my selenium is very, very low, and this interferes with the bodies ability for the T3 and T4 to convert the food calories into energy instead of fat.

there were quite a few other interesting results, but that one was an eye opener.

i saw a naturopathic physician, and i'm going to continue working with her and my MD ... i'm due for my physical in June.
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BlueIris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
11. Good news. nt
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 02:07 PM
Response to Original message
12. This may explain why the percent of women who hare obese has leveled off
If the prevalence of alterations in the master gene determines who CAN get fat in response to changes in the environment, there obviously has to be an upper limit.

http://articles.boston.com/2006-04-05/news/29239697_1_c...

More American children are getting fat, with more than one-third now overweight. More of their dads are getting heavy, too.

But the percentage of women who are overweight seems to have peaked, leading some specialists to wonder whether the obesity epidemic may soon be leveling off.

Overall, larger proportions of the US public are overweight than ever before, according to the government's most accurate recent check of the nation's girth. But women, who as a group are more obese, seem to be holding steady.
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eilen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
13. More news on this:
They found an association between the KLF14 gene (inherited from the mother) and the expression levels of multiple distant genes found in fat tissue. This means that it acts as a master switch to control these genes, the researchers said. This was then confirmed in a further independent sample of 600 subcutaneous fat biopsies from Icelandic subjects.

Other genes controlled by KLF14 are in fact linked to a range of metabolic traits, including body-mass index (obesity), cholesterol, insulin and glucose levels, highlighting the interconnectedness of metabolic traits, the researchers said.

http://www.kurzweilai.net/master-switch-gene-for-obesit...
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