Meet your genetic master of fat
May 17th, 2011
04:59 PM ET

Meet your genetic master of fat

One gene linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol may act as a "master regulator" gene that controls how fat works in the body, according to a study published in Nature Genetics.

Scientists had known that the KLF14 gene is linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol but didn’t know what role it played in controlling other genes.  KLF14 gene is inherited from the mother.

The researchers from King’s College London and University of Oxford say that the study indicates that one master gene can cause a “cascade of other metabolic effects in other genes” linked to obesity, HDL cholesterol, insulin and glucose levels.  They believe KLF14, thereby “acts as a master switch.” They examined 20,000 genes in 800 female twins to determine that association.

The findings mean that the  KLF14 gene could become the possible target for treatment efforts to fight against diseases related to metabolism and obesity.

In a press release, a co-author of the study, Mark McCarthy from the University of Oxford, said: "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. We are working hard right now to understand these processes and how we can use this information to improve treatment of these conditions."

May 17th, 2011
02:17 PM ET

Are my son's bipolar meds effective?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Tuesdays, it's Dr. Charles Raison, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, and an expert in the mind-body connection for health.

Asked by Manager

My son has biopolar and takes Depakote and Seroquel together. He doesn't seem that much better. Are there more effective drugs than these?

Get Some Sleep: Groaning at night, and not the sexy kind
May 17th, 2011
01:28 PM ET

Get Some Sleep: Groaning at night, and not the sexy kind

Lisa Shives, M.D., is the founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois. She blogs on Tuesdays on The Chart. Read more from her at Dr. Lisa Shives’ Sleep Better Blog.

Susan was young, healthy and appeared very well rested. Why was she in my sleep clinic? “I am studying abroad for a year and I have to share a room so the noises I make at night are going to be a problem.”

Noises? “My family tells me that I groan in my sleep, every night, very loudly. Have you heard of this? Can you help me?” I thought to myself, in typical doctor fashion, Yes, I have heard of this and maybe I can help.

Catathrenia, which means sleep-related groaning, is a rare disorder in the sleep clinic, but may be more prevalent in the population than previously thought. It is marked by loud, groaning that typically starts in adolescence or young adulthood and, if not treated, is usually chronic and occurs most, if not every, night.

Patients usually only present with this problem when it becomes an issue for bed partners, family members, or roommates. The patients themselves rarely report a problem with disturbed sleep or impaired daytime alertness. However, the social impact should not be underestimated.

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

May 2011
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