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Researchers hope to use the new information about the KLF14 gene to control type 2 diabetes and obesity  (Source:
A study of 800 UK female twins shows that the mother's copy of the gene provides the ability to control other genes associated with metabolic traits

Researchers from the University of Oxford and King's College London have made a crucial discovery that could lead to the development of better treatments and maybe even a cure for type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Professor Tim Spector, study leader from the Department of Twin Research at King's College London, and Professor Mark McCarthy, co-author of the University of Oxford, have determined how a previously discovered gene that is linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol acts as a regulator for the gene's that reside within the body's fat. 

KLF14 has been linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol levels in previous studies. But now, scientists have figured out how this gene acts as a regulator for genes located in far-away body fat.

"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 McCarthy. "We are working hard right now to understand these processes and how we can use this information to improve treatment of these conditions." 

A child inherits a set of genes from both the mother and the father. In this study, researchers found that the KLF14 gene inherited its activity from the mother while the father's KLF14 gene remains inactive. The KLF14's ability to control distant genes in the body's fat is completely dependent on the mother's version. 

They discovered that the mother's KLF14 gene controls other genes associated with body-mass index (obesity), insulin, glucose levels and cholesterol. This means that KLF14 is a "master switch" that controls and shows the connections between metabolic traits.

Researchers made this discovery by recruiting 800 UK female twin participants and studying over 20,000 genes in subcutaneous fat biopsies. They also looked at genes in subcutaneous fat biopsies from Icelandic participants. Between the two studies, researchers discovered the connections between the KLF14 gene and distant genes associated with metabolic traits.  

"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 Spector. "This has great therapeutic potential particularly as by studying large detailed populations such as the twins we hope to find more of these regulators." 

This study was published in Nature Genetics, and is part of multinational collaboration funded by the Wellcome Trust called the MuTHER study. 

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news flash
By headbox on 5/16/2011 12:59:01 PM , Rating: 3
Know what else controls obesity? Stuffing your face with junk food while sitting on your ass. Next time you see an obese person at the grocery store, take a peek in their cart: it will not be filled with fruits & vegetables.

RE: news flash
By Obujuwami on 5/16/2011 1:19:50 PM , Rating: 3
While what you suggest doesn't help, it isn't the SOLE cause of the problem. I have been heavy most of my life and I have been quite active up until about 4 years ago when my son was born. I was always heavy playing hockey 2 times a week and working in a job where I was lifting 30-80lbs items regularly.

So while eating like crap and being sedentary actually makes the problem worse, it isn't the source of the problem.

RE: news flash
By ApfDaMan on 5/16/2011 1:41:44 PM , Rating: 2
you mean, it isnt the sole source of the problem.

RE: news flash
By GuinnessKMF on 5/16/2011 2:08:42 PM , Rating: 2
I think headbox doesn't understand what the world metabolism means.

There are plenty of people who aren't obese but sure eat like they are.

RE: news flash
By headbox on 5/16/11, Rating: 0
RE: news flash
By Spuke on 5/16/2011 3:28:25 PM , Rating: 2
It takes 6-8 weeks of serious weight training just to start losing the fat and gaining muscle.
Good to know. I always wondered why it took so long to even begin to gain muscle. If people could get past this hump, they would be really motivated to continue.

RE: news flash
By jkostans on 5/16/2011 5:02:28 PM , Rating: 3
It's true, once you get past that 6-8 week hump you will start seeing results. People don't think they should have to work out 6 days a week 45 mins for 8 weeks to get results so they blame their genes. Also, if you don't feel TOTALLY exhausted after a workout (mild nausea is a good indication) then you need to step up your intensity.

RE: news flash
By dsumanik on 5/17/2011 12:31:34 PM , Rating: 2
Ill tell you all the fat "secret" you become overweight because you are eating more calories than you are burning. The end.

I dont care how "active" a person considers their lifestyle. Lifting 80 lb boxes is not a big deal, playing hockey twice a week is not a big deal.

You need to push yourself to the point of exhaustion at least once a day and control your diet...FOREVER.

I dont want to see a "cure found" for obesity.

Overeating and laziness should not be rewarded with a majic pill that makes you magically have a perfect body.

Id personally like to see substantial tax breaks for healthy poeple who dont smoke, and tax penalties for those who arent.

RE: news flash
By KingofFah on 5/16/2011 5:24:35 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it is true that you can affect your metabolic rate by being active or being sedentary, but that doesn't account for genetics.

I was going to post something similar to what you posted originally, such as: The majority of obesity cases are diet and exercise related, and not some gene that is forcing people to be fat. However, the actual specifics of their dietary and exercise requirements do depend on their genetics. There are a substantial amount of people who are genetically far more likely to gain fat from carbs (in almost any form other than completely unrefined oats/grains) due to any numbers of factors including insulin response, and many people have "slow" metabolisms naturally.

I do agree with some of your points: there are plenty of people who complain about being fat, who don't have a good diet and barely do anything as you outlined, but by saying that metabolism is completely determined by activity level and diet (which we can only assume you believe by the simple generalization you've made in the first paragraph), you demonstrate that you are ignorant of some important factors in health and fitness.

I've lived with a slow metabolism my whole life, and in many ways I take it as a good thing: I've been forced to eat right and exercise daily to stay healthy whereas the people who have metabolisms that can burn 3-4k calories doing nothing learn the hard way when their metabolisms crash on them.

So let's try to quantify that "slow" metabolism of mine so you might be able to get an idea of how genetics play a key factor in metabolic rate. My activity during the peak of my health consisted of 45-75 minutes of weight training 4-5 times a week. That would alternate between HIT or Volume training, or my own version of HIT (not to say that it hasn't been done by others): explosive, accelerating concentric motion (to counteract inertia build up once the weight is in motion) and 5-10 second eccentric. Cardio consisted of 1.5-2 hours 5-6 days a week of endurance mixed with intervals, doing an alternating variety of the following: running, crosstrainer, rowing, stair climber , 1-5 hours of racquetball 3-5 days a week (and I was a bad racquetball player which means I'm running around most of the time). I was eating a pretty consistent 3000 calories during that time and maintaining my weight. My resting heart rate was just under 50. I am nearly 6'2" (6'1.75" if you want to get technical) and was and still am right around 190lbs. I was in my early 20s during this time, so age played no role in slowing my metabolic rate down.

3000 calories. Now let's see someone who has a "fast" metabolism and is the same size as me do the same on that amount of calories for a period of at least a year (since this was my sustained diet and exercise). They would collapse from exhaustion. Oh, I forgot, I also biked 25 miles a day since I would bike to and from work at the gym (used to be a trainer); I guess I forgot since biking, steep hills or not, was virtually effortless for me.

If indeed there was no such thing as a slow metabolism except by being a "slug" and eating crap, then how could I have done all that on 3k calories. Using low estimates of calorie counters, it would be 5k calories, so how could I maintain at 60 percent of that for a long period of time? I suppose one logical alternative explanation is bio-mechanical efficiency (but I always varied my weight training and cardio workouts) and the fact that I have a very efficient and health respiratory and cardiovascular system.

Maybe this will help you get the idea that even people who are in beyond excellent shape can have slow metabolisms. I have never been able to eat whatever I want. I've worked with and known people with all sorts of metabolisms. This reminds me of a roommate in college who was my height and 120 pounds (disgustingly thin), who ate massive meals, entire buckets of of fried chicken (not every day, but a couple times a week), never worked out in any form other than walking to and from the dorm for classes, and never gained a pound while I knew him. I would imagine if he's still doing this, he's probably a blob now.

RE: news flash
By MeesterNid on 5/16/2011 10:12:02 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, oooookay there dude. This all sounds like a fine fairy tale, but perhaps you've heard of "physics" and how it has those things called laws...and in particular the laws of thermodynamics?! Because basically what you're describing here sounds like a pile of horse crap and I'm pretty sure regardless of how efficient your body is, unless of course your joints are completely frictionless...and then some, the amount of work you're talking about blows those 3kCal out of the water.

So break out a calculator, and perhaps put down the book with the pink unicorns there.

RE: news flash
By KingofFah on 5/17/2011 2:00:25 AM , Rating: 3
I think I may have heard of physics -- I think that may have been the basis for why I wanted to accelerate during the eccentric motion of muscle contraction...

60 percent of the normal/average level makes it impossible? So I suppose the people being sedentary and eating 4k calories are also breaking the laws of thermodynamics as they cannot be burning two times the amount of normal doing nothing. I also find it interesting that you didn't ask anything about inclines, weights, etc during any of these workouts which have a notable impact on calories burned, yet apparently you're able to make a conclusion without gathering all the facts. That's very unscientific of you. I'm not saying that having those facts would have convinced you otherwise, but I am questioning the validity and quality of your statements.

Sorry, but I don't like it when people who disagree simply say things like "oh, that's against the laws of physics". How would I be violating the laws of thermodynamics if my body is not creating the same energy needs as someone with a higher metabolism? Unless you're the leading authority on metabolism and all biological and chemical factors which influence the energy requirements for any human body in any circumstance (a person who doesn't exist), then I believe you need to check the validity of your claim. You made a claim which assumes that either you know the energy requirements of my body under all the activities I listed (even though I only provided a brief summary without all the details) and subsequently knew that it was not possible due to "physics", or you have made a series of assumptions in place of knowledge.

If you read medical research, you'd know that for the most part we know a tiny fraction about the human body and are mostly still banging our heads against a wall doing research to try to figure out how various things work with a definite and clearly demonstratable result. A lot of research is contradicted by other research, as we find it's very hard to get a true control set or get data that can be used for extrapolation for entire demographics and still have validity. We also have the issue of the living body: we cannot do everything we'd like to do to make an analysis because we cannot do the same things we do to rats and other animals.

I find that in most cases in which a person makes mention of something which does have an impact on the topic (thermodynamics and its application to human energy expenditure), but doesn't have any kind of solid foundation in their comment or discussion, followed quickly by belittling the point they want to counter with assumptions that will solicit a humour response from most of those who read it (pink fairy tale land, unicorns, etc), are mostly made by people who want their view to be accepted but don't have a solid foundation on which to debate. However, this is only an observation and generalization, and I would not make a fool of myself by stating that you are in this category.

I would put it to you to contact any proper university's biology, chemistry, or physics departments, and ask how thermodynamics and human calorie expenditure relate. Most of the research I've read has broad "genetics" (typically involving hormone levels, chemical process variations from person to person, etc; I'm generalizing the specific topics under this category) as the primary factor in determining a person's energy requirement for any activity. I ask you to do this confident in the response you'll receive and encouraging you to get involved in researching and studying these things. It is an amazing thing to explore as you always learn new things.

I brought up a specific example of a slow metabolism (me) to demonstrate an extreme example; you don't have to believe it. Do the research on the subject. At the very least you'll find the crude generalizations of ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs, which can be used to categorize metabolisms broadly (using combinations as well, but they are very general classifications and the tip of the iceberg).

Humility can only be had once you realize how little you or anyone else knows about a subject. Truth can only be found by first throwing away all your presuppositions.

RE: news flash
By MeesterNid on 5/17/2011 8:32:37 AM , Rating: 2

Okay homes, you seem to be under the impression that writing page-long comments somehow lands validity to your imaginative ravings.

So let me break it down for you...simple muscle contraction has ATP requirements per fiber contraction. This is pretty simple as more fiber == more ATP required to contact. If you are/were doing the amount of exercise you described then your ATP generation would have caloric requirements much higher than +60% of bmr...this is an order of magnitude approximation as I'm not about to do accurate calculations in a comment reply.

Physical work is physical work it doesn't matter who exerts energy on the bike to make it move some distance (person't weight added to that of bike excluded) it will still be the same amount of energy regardless if your metabolism is "slow" or "fast".

Now as for those people burning 4kCal at rest they're either depleting our ozone layer by expelling massive amounts of CO2 or are in metabolic acidosis 1/2 the time.

Sorry, it just doesn't pass the smell test.

RE: news flash
By zephyrprime on 5/17/2011 11:15:30 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, those thin people who eat a lot just produce a lot of body heat. They have a lot of brown fat and a high body temperature. It takes a huge amount of energy to produce heat. So basically all that energy is being completely wasted.

RE: news flash
By Felofasofa on 5/17/2011 8:20:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'm one of these. I just burn through energy without doing much. I've struggled my whole life just to keep weight on. I don't eat junk, but it wouldn't matter for me. This 6-8 weeks to see improvement, wtf? I can see improvement in a day, huge improvement in a week, but lose it all just as quick.

RE: news flash
By KingofFah on 5/18/2011 10:25:57 AM , Rating: 3
Yes, I'm aware of the ATP and the Krebs cycle. You're still not getting it. You also haven't understood what I've meant by 60%, and I'm not repeating it a third time.

It is incorrect that more fibre == more ATP required to contract. The body does not and almost never activates all fibres in a muscle. Also, during the majority of activity, a significant portion of work produced is generated by tendon work (far more efficient than muscle) in collaboration with the muscles. I give you kudos for examining it and trying to find an equation which explains your viewpoint, but you're missing too many factors in your equation to draw any meaningful conclusion -- again, tip of the iceberg.

I also just thought of something funny. Let's assume your more fibre == more ATP requirement equation is correct. The body rarely if ever goes through muscle fibre hyperplasia, so the amount of muscle fibres one has is basically determined through genes and cannot be modified after initial development. If your equation were true, then those who had more muscle fibres would be burning more energy at a given task, and subsequently, those who had less muscle fibres would be burning less energy. Do you understand why I find this funny? :) If not please think about it, as it's tremendously ironic.

Since you're very knowledgeable about this subject, I want to ask you something I've always wanted to know about muscle energy generation. What is the efficiency of an enlarged muscle fibre in comparison to a smaller muscle fibre, doing a load which is half of the smaller fibre's maximum work load? Essentially I wanted to know if a larger/stronger muscle fibre is capable of being more efficient than the smaller one at the same load.

As another factor to consider, research has shown BMR variances between two individuals of up to 2k calories. Even assuming that they burn exactly the same amount in other activities, there would be around 2k difference in their totals for the day, wouldn't there? :)

In the end, I really don't care whether you believe me or not, partly because you've demonstrated a lack of knowledge in this field to make an educated judgement, but mostly because it doesn't matter. It will never be not true for me, as I know I did it; and it will probably never be true for you as you have no proof, have no real way to get proof in this specific case, and are unlikely to actually research the field and ask questions in an explorative way since it would mean yielding that maybe you don't know what you're talking about.

Finally, your assumption that I write "page-long" comments to try to bring validity to what I type is incorrect. The most probable reason why I write "page-long" comments is because I rarely engage in internet discussions (and broke my own rule by doing so in trying to support the other "slow" metabolism people) and as such responded as best as I could in this very limited and disconnected discussion medium. I love discussing things in person. Hopefully you can understand that at least.

RE: news flash
By DarthKaos on 5/18/2011 10:42:20 AM , Rating: 2
I may not be as intelligent as MeeSterNid or KingofFah in regards to body mechanics but I can tell you I have tried every diet and work out combination you can think of and I have so much trouble maintaining a healthy weight. I have had this issue since I was a kid. I was in the best shape whenever I was having a growth spurt. I stayed in good shape all through high school because I was in football and track and when I was not in a sport I always had a job and was working out to be ready for the next season. In college I was active and worked out but put on weight like so many other people but I put on way more and I was not eating crazy bad or anything. I went from 180 pounds to 320 pounds in a year. Even at 320 I played intramural football and worked out 3 times a week plus walked everywhere (class, work, workout, groceries in town, etc...).

I was able to loose a lot of weight quick when I went on the Atkins diet but knew that was not a good lifestyle to maintain a health weight. I then tried weight watchers and that was great. I lost more weight and at my best I was back down to 195 pounds. I quit weight watchers and since then (3 years) am back up to 230 pounds. I eat a fruit and whole grains for breakfast. Salads ,sandwiches on light bread, tuna and other healthy things for lunch. For supper we only eat fish, chicken, and ground turkey. I rarely have red meat and we have rice and vegetables with the main dish at supper. I have a snack in the morning and in the afternoon. These snacks are yogurt or a granola bar or protein bar depending on what I am doing that day for physical activity. On the weekends I am always active doing things around the house (my wife is a chronic re-modeler and landscaper). I am maintaining my 230 pounds with my eating habits and by working out 1 time a week (currently have an 18 month old so frequency of workouts will increase with age of child).

I don't how this translates into ATP or calories in and out but I do know it is a ton of work for me not to be as fat as a house. Also while I do all this my wife does yoga once a week and can eat a bag of star burst every other night, loves chicken fingers and eats them twice or more a week, downs ice cream and french fires like they are water, drinks an iced coffee from McDs everyday, and still weighs 115 pounds and is 5' 3" tall.

I must be fat from all that junk I eat and all the TV I watch (by the way 1 hour of TV a night max).

RE: news flash
By KingofFah on 5/18/2011 10:54:49 AM , Rating: 2
Knowledge doesn't say anything about your intelligence. You know all you need to know about the subject, since you know how your body reacts to different foods.

Congrats on the weight loss. Atkins and similar diets typically work amazingly well on "slow" metabolism people, since it's also common that those same people convert carbs to fat at a much higher rate. But yes, you're right, Atkins and other diets which put the body into ketosis for extended periods of time can be very dangerously, mostly due to the potential for brain and liver damage (the liver at least is a regenerative organ, though).

RE: news flash
By Breakfast Susej on 5/16/2011 3:04:08 PM , Rating: 2
I present the opinion of someone who lost approximately 180 pounds beginning in 2009. I currently maintain a body weight of approximately 180 pounds. Weight loss and the ins and outs of it so to speak, have been my life for the last two years.

I was always heavy as well, Though not diabetic. Through a combination of factors. It is however harder for me to achieve the same results others do. I was not "blessed" so to speak with a good metabolism.

I definitely do know people that fit within that category. Most everyone knows someone like that, who can eat horrendously and in massive quantities yet be as thin as a rail.

The genetics are undeniable, and as pleasing as it may be for some people to sit back and bitch people out for not exercising, it is in fact more of a challenge for some people than others. Denying scientific discovery based on a very narrow personal perspective only makes one look ignorant.

If you have never had to struggle with it, take it from someone who has, and has accomplished the goal, it is easy to make it sound simple. Just eat less and exercise right? In the end if you haven't done it, you should probably step back, re-evaluate your advice, and realize what a douchebag you sound like when you offer blatant and uninformed opinions such as the above.

RE: news flash
By headbox on 5/16/11, Rating: 0
RE: news flash
By someguy123 on 5/16/2011 3:20:20 PM , Rating: 2
I too used to be very over weight. I'm now 155 and gradually increasing my weight intentionally while lifting.

It's "difficult", but I don't think it's wrong for people to tell you to exercise and eat correctly. Even with variations in your genetic ability to handle calorie consumption, in the end you're merely limited by willpower. It's very, very rare to be unable to gain much weight or lose weight due to genetic issues, and such problems tend to have life threatening side effects.

A lot of people tend to confuse habitual with genetic. Reducing your calories may make you feel a bit hungry all day, and running may wear you out for the first few weeks, but you'll get over it in the long run, and in the end the health and energy benefits are worthwhile.

RE: news flash
By Spuke on 5/16/2011 3:33:44 PM , Rating: 2
I too used to be very over weight. I'm now 155 and gradually increasing my weight intentionally while lifting.
Is it difficult for you to gain weight? I have been pretty skinny for most of my life and got tired of looking like a pre-teen. Once I figured it out, it only took me a year to gain 20 lbs but it took me a while to figure it out.

RE: news flash
By someguy123 on 5/16/2011 4:10:25 PM , Rating: 2
Nah, I'm used to gaining weight if you know what I mean. Hard part is just maintaining the correct amount so I don't stack too much fat as well.

I know a lot of guys had problems though until they realized it was all about calorie intake. Some even go as far as drinking a gallon of milk a day.

RE: news flash
By GulWestfale on 5/16/2011 6:12:19 PM , Rating: 2
a lot of good arguments there, but the real question is this:
is KLF gonna rock you? and is it really the last train to trancentral? and why does it come at 3AM?

RE: news flash
By NuclearDelta on 5/16/2011 1:22:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'd argue a number of these are because they never were exposed to eating a healthy diet to develop the habit as their own. They lack a full understanding of caloric intake as some people were never exposed at doing the numbers. Not having an example of these things, especially given by a parent, can have heavy (heh pun) consequences when coupled with a sedentary lifestyle. Changing these things require these people thinking in new ways and I really don't find it a desirable to suggest that we basically "F&^*" the lot of em'.

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