The Editor's Desk

By Meacham, Jon | Newsweek, August 23, 2004 | Go to article overview

The Editor's Desk


Meacham, Jon, Newsweek


Byline: Jon Meacham

"The real causes of obesity," Jerry Adler presciently wrote in NEWSWEEK 22 years ago, "may be locked away deep in the chemical infrastructure of the body." Adler, our science writer, was right, and in this week's cover story he and Anne Underwood take an original look at an American obsession: fat. We've all read countless stories about the latest fashionable diet, but this project is different, explaining science's evolving understanding of fat cells, the cells' relationship to the brain and how these insights may help us find treatments for obesity and a range of other health problems.

That should be encouraging news for the two thirds of Americans who are overweight. Relentless and resilient, fat cells turn out to be savvy survivors, able to multiply and thrive. They are active entities, not static globs, and produce chemicals that cause inflammation--a chronic condition linked to heart disease, diabetes and some kinds of cancer. If we can figure out how to intercept the signals they send to the brain, we may be able to make strides in combating these illnesses.

In the political world, in a poignant press conference with his wife standing by his side, New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey announced that "I am a gay American"--and that he was resigning his office. …

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