Friday, June 2, 2017

Obesity virus

Nikhil Dhurandhar was born in India, son of a physician who specialized in treating obesity.  Nikhil's experience with chickens made him suspect that a virus that made the birds gain weight, even without additional food, might do the same thing to humans.  As described in the excellent book, "The Secret Life of Fat" by Dr. Sylvia Tara and again in "10% Human" by Dr. Alanna Collen, the hypothesis and his steady work on it laid out a long path for the man.  He sought US scientists to work with, faced down all sorts of rejections and objections and obstacles and explanations why such a thing would be impossible.  It appears that it is possible and does happen.


You may be aware that the human world is having more and more trouble with obesity.  Various ways of looking at what obesity is and which countries have the most people with the condition put some small countries ahead of the US but among large developed countries, we are way up there.


Some very persuasive research and testing as described in the books mentioned above and elsewhere make me expect that you will be hearing more about the virus.  It has been referred to as SMAM-1 and is suspected to be a modification of Ad-36.  These numbers and letters mean nothing much to me but I imagine they matter.  


It surprises me how much talk of morality and self-control gets mixed in with discussions of obesity and its causes.  Personally, I doubt if a severely obese person eats enough to produce the weights and levels of body fat they bear.  When I was in high school, more than 50 years ago, I saw a newsphoto of a man who weighed more than 1000 lbs and could not stand up.  People I knew would often use the words "glandular condition" to imply that it must take a special body or a special body composition to achieve such a weight, not just a big appetite.  I realize that women pay plenty of attention to their weight and to a lesser extent, so do men.  For the men I know, they don't want their health damaged or their lives carelessly shortened but being "big" often translated into a physical advantage in football and other sports.


But I think we all recognize that too much weight, fat, body mass is a terrible problem.  It is one we want better tools to deal with.

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