Beware the Fat Flu
Obesity in this country is an epidemic. The rates of obesity has more than doubled for adults and tripled for children. Sedentary lifestyle and high sugar/high carb diets are to blame. Genetics also plays a very important part as well. Recent studies done by Richard Atkison and others at the University of Wisconsin found that 30 percent of the 500 obese participants were exposed to a certain virus. This virus, known as Ad-36, was just one virus associated with causing obesity.
In February of this year, scientists discovered another known pathogen linked with causing obesity: Ad-37 (pointed to at right). Researchers found strong evidence showing that Ad-37 caused obesity in chickens. Ad-36, Ad-5, and Ad-37 are all adenoviruses - which normally causes respiratory infection. Ad-36 has been linked directly to human obesity thus far. An earlier study found that identical twins of differing heftiness depended on the exposure to the Ad-36 virus. And you think a congestion and cough was all you could catch?
So is it possible that obesity can be linked to catching a "fat flu?" "The nearly simultaneous increase in the prevalence of obesity in most countries of the world is difficult to explain by changes in food intake and exercise alone, and suggest that adenoviruses could have contributed," the researchers conclude. "The role of adenoviruses in the worldwide epidemic of obesity is a critical question that demands additional research."
If scientists can identifiy the specific adenoviruses, is it possible to eventually create a fat virus vaccine? It sounds so messed up - having your kids take vaccines against rubella, mumps, chicken pox, and obesity. But is it on the horizon?
"If Ad-36 is responsible for a significant portion of human obesity, the logical therapeutic intervention would be to develop a vaccine to prevent future infections," Frank Greenway, professor at Louisiana State said.
Other than some sort of vaccine against the "fat virus," how about washing your hands? That could be another way to ward off becoming obese. Also, if you see a really obese person about to sneeze, you should get the hell away from them. A cold might be the least thing to worry about catching from this nasty spray of spit, mucus, and obese-causing viruses.
Perhaps these researchers should study other adenoviruses and see if stupidity is also contagious. We need a vaccine to protect us from that too.