Monday, January 26, 2009

Obesity Virus?

I'm certainly not an expert on infectious diseases or chubby chickens, but something about this claim just doesn't seem.... real.

A study published in the American Journal of Physiology, Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology, and discussed in this Medical News Today article, claims that the human adenovirus Ad-37 is making people fat. Dr. L Whigham and team in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Wisconsin University infected and studied chickens.

I have two questions for Dr. L Whigham and friends:

1.) Did you have to use chickens?!?! You may as well just sell the virus to our nation's hungriest chicken processors!

2.) Have you considered that the root of obesity may be a spell? Just saying. Something to think about. (Fiona from the Shrek films... get it?)

I better go double check that my source didn't find this study on The Onion...


I got a scientific opinion about this obesity virus business from a trusted colleague and pioneer of science at Johns Hopkins University, Zachary Gerhart-Hines:

"I would agree with you [that this sounds pretty far-fetched]. There are many things we do in science for which we do not have mechanistic explanation. There is also the question of how direct or indirect is the action of the virus on the animals. One person in the article began to address this... If the virus makes the animals sedentary or tired etc then they may eat more and exercise less. However, if that was the case I would not consider that to prove that the virus makes you fat. That's like saying getting dumped makes you fat. If you get depressed from having been dumped and you eat a lot and stay inside and cry you will gain weight. I can tell you from what little I know about viruses they affect A LOT of cellular processes and it is difficult to tease out the direct actions from peripheral side effects."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this just in - study funded by mcdonalds lol