Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Obesity Virus Talk Makes Treating The Problem That Much More Difficult

Dr. Magdalena Pasarica has found a new "fattening" virus

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 400 million people worldwide are currently overweight or obese. Included in that number is an astonishing 20 million children under the age of five who are getting fatter faster than any other generation before it.

But could there be more to this prescient issue than overeating?

That's something researchers are examining behind-the-scenes right now and they think a common virus found in humans is the culprit in nearly one-third of the obese, according to about the findings presented at the 234th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society on Monday in Boston, Massachusetts.

Lead researcher Dr. Magdalena Pasarica, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Endocrinology Lab at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and her fellow researchers were observing lab tests from adult male and female liposuction patients many of which had a common respiratory and eye infection-causing virus called adenovirus-36, aka Ad-36 as well as E4Orfl.

But they noticed something odd about this Ad-36 virus.

When they pulled the adult stem cells from the tissue samples and infected them with Ad-36, after one week those cells had become "fat" cells while the uninfected ones had not. In fact, when the researchers put more of the Ad-36 virus in the cells, there was an even higher amount of fat developed. The same cause and effect happened regardless of sex.

Even worse, those "fat" cells actually began collecting fat more rapidly than normal which leads to an even greater growth--of the fat cells and then of stored fat on the body. It all leads back to Ad-36 as the culprit in this fat development in the body.

The very likelihood that the Ad-36 virus could be the source of over 100 million cases of obesity is why the researchers will undoubtedly be pushing for that anti-obesity vaccine to specifically treat this viral infection. Oh boy, here we go again!

Where does it end? Sure, I will admit that there is a real possibility that some people are fat because of something other than their diet and physical activity. But don't we all agree that the overwhelming majority of overweight and obese people have gotten that way from making poor dietary choices?

Putting the onus on an obscure virus that may or may not be the cause and making that the presumed reason for obesity grants the overweight and obese permission to do nothing pro-active about their weight and health. Instead, they'll plop down hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars to get these various "miracle" vaccines with a myriad of possible side effects. What's the point?

Click here to read more about this new research on a viral cause of obesity and why I believe studies like this make it more difficult to bring this growing epidemic under control.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But don't we all agree that the overwhelming majority of overweight and obese people have gotten that way from making poor dietary choices?"

Nope, I don't agree with that.

It could be from a number of causes, not just food choices. It could be pyramid-recommended choices for gosh sakes.

It is your belief (extrapolating from your own experience?) that making poor choices is true for "the overwhelming majority" but it sure ain't my belief.

8/21/2007 8:01 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Fair enough, cjcbrown, but I still think blaming it on anything other than the individual's choices gives them license to excuse away their duty to do something about it.

THANKS for your comments!

8/21/2007 9:26 PM  
Blogger Pot Kettle Black said...

Jimmy, lemme throw some speculation here and propose a workable scenario where the virus can shoulder some blame and personal choice can be core. Perhaps it's possible that the virus does not cause obesity on it's own, but rather, it magnifies bad choices made. So, a virus free person eating something fatty that would trigger an insulin response (think an order of Popeye's fried chicken, with a biscuit, fries and a coke), might see fat development that we could call a base case (B). A person with the virus might see fat development on the order of 2*B. If this is the case, then the obesity epidemic can still be cured with better choices and more dedication, but an antiviral treatment might be very helpful as well.

Taking it a step further, it might make your regular carb tolerance for maintenance something like 150G of carbs rather than something on the order of 70g.

Again, this is speculative, but isn't it possible that there is complimentarity, and that the solution for some might involve complimentary treatments?

8/22/2007 9:10 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I thought about that scenario while writing the column, Pot Kettle Black. And there is some merit in that argument. But it still goes back to giving people excuses for their obesity. My assertion is there is NO excuse for not trying to pursue weight loss for the sake of improving health.

I'm not trying to stop these kind of anti-obesity viruses from being available to those few people who have the condition that is leading to their obesity. Instead, I want people to stop relying on those solutions to their weight problem and start taking action to do something about it themselves.

That's why the promotion of low-carb education along with low-fat by our government and health leaders is so sorely needed. We assume that EVERYTHING has been done through dietary choices to stop obesity when very clearly that is not the case.

8/22/2007 9:24 AM  
Blogger Cate said...

JImmy, a pet peeve here... please look up the definition of "prescient". You keep using it as though it means pressing, or immediate, or even important.

8/22/2007 11:48 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Thanks Cate! But isn't it funny how you knew exactly what I intended? :)

8/22/2007 12:01 PM  
Blogger Pot Kettle Black said...

Here's the thing. I agree with you that people should take better care and have better information and the government should stop pushing the "low fat/move fat" paradigm as a one size fits all solution. But, if there is a virus that infects a large number of people and might have a role, isn't that an acceptable other avenue of research. I don't think a potential vaccine will be a magic bullet any more than hoodia or liposuction is. But if you have something wrong with you, why not take meds?

I struggled with this for a long time. I was depressed and I hated taking a pill to feel normal. What I was having problems understanding was that I had something actually wrong with me. This virus might be the same thing. It might not. But we won't know until someone does the research and tries some solutions. That's what it's about.

But still, I don't think it's the magic bullet. I think, at the end of the day, it's a mitigating factor that exacerbates bad choices and, at the root of things, you still have to make good choices.

8/22/2007 7:09 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

I agree with you Jimmy. Only addressing the root cause of the issue will be, in the end, truly effective. Perhaps indeed this virus amplifies and thrives on the effects of poor food choices (Food Pyramid, anyone?) but the current twin obesity and diabetes epidemic can only be stopped, reversed, and -in the end- resolved by "going back" to "old fashioned" wholesome, nutrient dense, low carb dietary practices. One can't fool Mother Nature. One researcher I know often says: "Nature doesn't take revenge. It just gets even". I think that's a good way of putting it. Nature seeks balance, like it does in everything around us.

8/23/2007 12:21 AM  

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