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Scientists find 'switch' that may help treat diseases related to obesityPosted On Tue, May 17, 2011
Researchers say they may have discovered a 'master switch' that regulates genes found in body fat which may lead to more effective treatment for obesity-related diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.
According to Reuters, researchers from two United Kingdom-based universities analyzed 20,000 genes from the fat cells of 800 British female twins. In their analysis, they found that one gene, called KLF14, acts as a 'master switch' in how other genes function.
"KLF14 seems to act as a master switch controlling processes that connect changes in the behavior of subcutaneous fat to disturbances in muscle and liver that contribute to diabetes and other conditions," said Mark McCarthy from Oxford University in an interview with Reuters.
The study has since been published in the medical journal Nature Genetics.
Obesity contributes to some of the world's most pervasive diseases. In the U.S. alone, according to Reuters, obesity-related diseases costs an estimated $147 billion per year in annual health insurance expenses.
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