I feel just terrible when, as an insurance agent, I have to say to someone, “I am sorry, but you do not qualify for any individual health plans that are available”.  I know it’s not my rule making but I still feel bad.  The other scenario has me having to tell the client that they just got a 50% rate up in their health insurance premiums because their height and weight do not match up correctly to the charts of the insurance carrier.  It’s not my fault but I still have a great deal of sympathy for the client.

There is a report from London that scientists have found a gene linked to diabetes and cholesterol that controls other genes that are found in fat in the body.  They have called it the “master switch”.  In the study published in the journal Nature Genetics, 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 a target for drugs to treat such illnesses.”

Worldwide more than one in ten adults are obese.  That equals more than half a billion people.  The numbers have doubled since the 1980’s as the epidemic has spilled over from the wealthier nations to the poorer ones.  In the United States 10% of medical spending is related to obesity.  Almost $147 billion, a year… that’s right $147 billion with a B!

Type 2 diabetes, which is often linked to poor food choices and a lack of exercise, is reaching epidemic levels worldwide as rates of obesity rise.

The Cleveland Leader reports that the study’s lead author, Tim Spector of Kings College London, said:

“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.”

The gene known as KLF14 has been identified by scientists as being somehow linked to type two diabetes and cholesterol levels but until now they didn’t know the exact role the gene played.

Mark McCarthy of England’s Oxford University, who also worked on the study, made the observation that:

“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.”

I am not a scientist but wouldn’t it be just wonderful if this “regulator” gene could somehow be regulated so that we may eat all the Twinkies, French fries, ice cream, pizza, chocolate…, etc.  You get the idea.