Tuesday, July 14, 2015

New one for you--Infectobesity

What if--stay with me here--obesity were caused by a virus? Would that help account for the difficulty people have in losing and keeping weight off and the rising incidence of obesity in poor countries formerly suffering from malnutrition?

I first wrote about Dr Nikhil Dhurandhar, now a professor  and chairman of the Department of Nutrition Sciences at Texas Tech, when I was writing for WebMD.

His research is based on the human adenovirus 36, which seems to cause obesity in humans and animals while at the same time reducing blood sugar. At the time I talked to him, he was looking into the virus's making chickens fatter when they were sick. He found this virus in a significant portion of obese humans' blood.

At that time, many universities did not want to get into this--he worked in Canada, I know.

Now at Texas Tech, with a grant he got while at another university, he is focusing on the lowering blood sugar part. He isolated the protein in the virus that does this--and other researchers have replicated his results. Testing in humans may come.

The protein works independently of insulin. This means, if it tests out, it would work with Type I diabetes (absence of insulin) and Type 2 (presence of insulin).

I would like to hear more about the fattening properties of adeno 36. Could it possibly--even in our dreams--be like the discovery that a virus caused ulcers? Something curable causing obesity?

No comments: