Communion Of Dreams

Slow-moving plague.
August 21, 2007, 2:23 pm
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Flu, Health, Pandemic, Plague, Science, Science Fiction, Society

Research has established one component of the world-wide epidemic of obesity: a virus.

A common virus that causes colds can be a factor in obesity, according to a study released Monday offering further evidence that a weight problem may be contagious.

The adenovirus-36 (Ad 36) has already been implicated as the cause of weight gain in animals, but with this study researchers showed for the first time that it can also cause humans to pile on the pounds.

The findings could accelerate the development of a vaccine or an antiviral medication to help fight the battle of the bulge alongside diet and exercise.

It’s a slow-moving, slow-acting plague. This would go a long ways to explaining why obesity has become so wide-spread in the last few decades, and has been hinted at in previous studies. There are other factors, certainly, but establishing a tie to a viral component could be a huge factor in dealing with this problem more effectively.

I’m overweight by about 40 pounds. Partly this is a function of my lifestyle, with the lack of opportunity to be active and the additional stress of being a full-time care provider for someone with Alzheimer’s. I know that with a lot of effort in exercise and watching what I eat, I can shake off the excess pounds – I’ve done it a couple of times. But it is so much harder now than it was before, and my natural weight-point has changed from where it used to be a decade ago to where it is now. And this pattern is seen increasingly around the globe, where other factors at play in my life or in the typical American life can be eliminated.

In Communion I have a post-pandemic society, one which is recovering from a massive disruption caused by a flu virus which caused rapid death in a large percentage of the population. But the reality of what we’re dealing with might be even more insidious.

Jim Downey

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We’ve all gotten our share of virus-based colds from living in close quarters; 89 of 90 men in my boot camp platoon caught strep over a two week period.

It makes me wonder how much obesity we chalk up to ‘genes’ is a result of this.

Comment by Brian

Not surprised to hear you say that, Brian. All you have to do is look at school situations to understand how such stuff will propagate.

There has also been some discussion in the medical research community about the idea that there may be a viral component to heart disease, since there are indication that such may be the case. And if that seems a bit outlandish, look at how ulcers are now treated: with antibiotics to control the heliobacter pylori bug, then with other supplementals. But back when I was in college I had three ulcers and they were all considered to be manifestations of stress, and the treatment regimen was directed at managing stress and then trying to change the acidic conditions of the stomach. It took 20 years to get the medical community to realize that they were completely mistaken about what was going on and to shift treatments.

Jim Downey

Comment by Communion of Dreams

[…] – the slow plague of obesity has also been linked to the spread of a virus (which I have written about previously). Could it be that because of an over-emphasis on protecting children from exposure to […]

Pingback by This confirms it. « Communion Of Dreams

[…] I’ve noted previously: In Communion I have a post-pandemic society, one which is recovering from a massive disruption […]

Pingback by The other 90% of you. « Communion Of Dreams

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