Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Viral Revolution

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Viral Revolution

Article excerpt

Rising rates of obesity in the United States may seem an inevitable consequence of lazy living, but a new study suggests that at least some obesity should be traced not to too much TV and an excess of Ring-Dings but to a virus.

For decades, the medical community resisted the notion that stomach ulcers were caused by a bacterium and not by "hurry, worry, and curry." Scientists are being more open-minded about the work of Nikhil Dhurandhar, an assistant professor of nutrition and food science at Wayne State University, who has proposed a link between a virus and obesity.

Dhurandhar and his colleagues infected chickens and mice with Ad-36, a virus that causes the common cold in humans. The infected animals put on almost 2.5 times as much body fat as the control group. Dhurandhar then looked at rates of Ad-36 infection in humans and found that 30 percent of obese individuals had antibodies to the virus, while only five percent of the lean subjects did. …

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