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(c) 2014 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Obesity Is Weighing Down The Workers' Compensation System

The "fat" gene
With over two-thirds of the nations' workforce overweight, the US workers' compensation system appears to weighed down with issue of obesity and its complications and costs. The delivery of medical treatment, and resulting permanent disability benefits, need to co-exist with the added weight workers are bringing to the system.

Medical delivery now needs to deal with: weight reduction, delay of medical care and complex treatment protocols , due obesity issues. The resulting consequences of this pre-existing / coexisting issues, are increasing the economic burden on the entire program.

Recent discoveries in human genome project reflect that obesity may actually be controlled by genetic propensities. In other words, the so-called "fat gene" programs whether the human body will gain weight. 

"Obesity is a chronic metabolic disorder affecting half a billion people worldwide. Major difficulties in managing obesity are the cessation of continued weight loss in patients after an initial period of responsiveness and rebound to pretreatment weight. It is conceivable that chronic weight gain unrelated to physiological needs induces an allostatic regulatory state that defends a supranormal adipose mass despite its maladaptive consequences. To challenge this hypothesis, we generated a reversible genetic mouse model of early-onset hyperphagia and severe obesity by selectively blocking the expression of the proopiomelanocortin gene (Pomc) in hypothalamic neurons. Eutopic reactivation of central POMC transmission at different stages of overweight progression normalized or greatly reduced food intake in these obesity-programmed mice. Hypothalamic Pomc rescue also attenuated comorbidities such as hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and hepatic steatosis and normalized locomotor activity. However, effectiveness of treatment to normalize body weight and adiposity declined progressively as the level of obesity at the time of Pomcinduction increased. Thus, our study using a novel reversible monogenic obesity model reveals the critical importance of early intervention for the prevention of subsequent allostatic overload that auto-perpetuates obesity."


Workers' Compensation needs to address obesity as a medical condition requiring, not only with co-existence medical attention, but also extend preventive medical treatment and medical monitoring to that the conditio Then obesity will not become a major factor in an employee's lifetime. Identification of this genetic abnormality early on appears critical to addressing weight control and behavior leading to its elimination.

This is yet another reason why the incorporation of the workers' compensation program into a universal medical system is so very important to the health of workers, and the solvency of workers compensation going forward.

Read the entire study, Obesity-programmed mice are rescued by early genetic intervention, Viviana F. Bumaschny, Miho Yamashita, Rodrigo Casas-Cordero,Verónica Otero-Corchón, Flávio S.J. de Souza, Marcelo Rubinstein andMalcolm J. Low, J Clin Invest. 2012;122(11):4203–4212. doi:10.1172/JCI62543.
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Jon L.Gelman of Wayne NJ, helping injured workers and their families for over 4 decades, is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson).  

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