Fat due to infection or bad microbioflora! Or efficient genes.  

redmustang91 57M  
8701 posts
8/14/2006 11:55 am

Last Read:
8/14/2006 2:33 pm

Fat due to infection or bad microbioflora! Or efficient genes.

New thinking on obesity reported in NY Times shows that obesity may not be just due to too much food and too little exercise. The wrong micro organisms in your intestines, an infection or overly effiecient genes may be the cause. Fat prone people have to eat less and exercise more. Not fair! but blaming the fat may be wrong! Turns out ulcers were due to an infection, not acidic foods! Interesting:

There’s another way that biological middlemen might be involved in obesity – in this case, not the gut microbes (mostly bacteria) with which we co-exist but the viruses and other pathogens that occasionally infect us and make us ill. This is the subspecialty that is being called infectobesity.

The idea of infectobesity dates to 1988, when Nikhil Dhurandhar was a young physician studying for his doctorate in biochemistry at the University of Bombay. He was having tea with his father, also a physician and the head of an obesity clinic, and an old family friend, S. M. Ajinkya, a pathologist at Bombay Veterinary College. Ajinkya was describing a plague that was killing thousands of chickens throughout India, caused by a new poultry virus that he had discovered and named with his own and a colleague’s initials, SMAM-1. On autopsy, the vet said, chickens infected with SMAM-1 revealed pale and enlarged livers and kidneys, an atrophied thymus and excess fat in the abdomen.

The finding of abdominal fat intrigued Dhurandhar. “If a chicken died of infection, having wasted away, it should be less fat, not more,” he remembered thinking at the time. He asked permission to conduct a small experiment at the vet school.

Working with about 20 chickens, Dhurandhar, then 28, infected half of them with SMAM-1. He fed them all the same amount of food, but only the infected chickens became obese. Strangely, despite their excess fat, the infected obese chickens had low levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in their blood – just the opposite of what was thought to happen in humans, whose cholesterol and triglyceride levels generally increase as their weight increases. After his pilot study in 1988, Dhurandhar conducted a larger one with 100 chickens. It confirmed his finding that SMAM-1 caused obesity in chickens.

But what about humans? With a built-in patient population from his clinic, Dhurandhar collected blood samples from 52 overweight patients. Ten of them, nearly 20 percent, showed antibody evidence of prior exposure to the SMAM-1 virus, which was a chicken virus not previously thought to have infected humans. Moreover, the once-infected patients weighed an average of 33 pounds more than those who were never infected and, most surprisingly, had lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels – the same paradoxical finding as in the chickens.

The findings violated three pieces of conventional wisdom, Dhurandhar said recently: “The first is that viruses don’t cause obesity. The second is that obesity leads to high cholesterol and triglycerides. The third is that avian viruses don’t infect humans.”

Dhurandhar, now 46, is a thoughtful man with a head of still-dark hair. Like Gordon, he has never been fat. But even though he is so firmly in the biological camp of obesity researchers, he ascribes his own weight control to behavior, not microbes; he says he is slim because he walks five miles a day, lifts weights and is careful about what he eats. Being overweight runs in his family; Dhurandhar’s father, who still practices medicine in India, began treating obese patients because of his own struggle to keep his weight down, from a onetime high of 220.

Sad that matters outside our control make us fatter than otherwise. So lets be kinder to those so afflicted!

bipolybabe 54F

8/14/2006 12:49 pm

Well, if I wanted something new to blame for fat, this would be good news.

Anyway, it's darned interesting.

Howzit goin?



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redmustang91 57M  
8559 posts
8/14/2006 2:33 pm

It continues to go. I know one guy who eats three servings and stays really slim as his digestive system is not good, he is active and comes from a line of slim people! So the more efficient eaters have to eat less to stay slimmer and still carry extra weight! Makes you feel less sinful for having to battle the bulge! It is not a personal failure or greed and sloth, though those do not help!

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