Obesity Really is an Epidemic and it Could Be ContagiousAugust 3, 2007 at 10:05 pm | Posted in News, science | 4 Comments
The next time you have a cold you could have the fat virus. The adenovirus-36, is a member of a viral family that includes about 50 strains. Most adenoviruses cause colds, diarrhea or pinkeye but adenovirus-36 (new window) might just make you fat.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison said
Researchers do not know yet how adenovirus-36 causes obesity. Infected animals did not eat more than uninfected ones, suggesting that the virus decreases energy expenditure rather than increasing appetite.
“I feel that it increases the number of fat cells, which encourages them to store more fat,” said Dhurandhar, who recently joined Wayne State University in Detroit.
The animal obesity viruses appear to work differently from adenovirus-36, by damaging the part of the brain that controls appetite. The Wisconsin researchers saw no brain damage in chickens and mice infected with adenovirus-36.
Aside from a day or two of cold-like symptoms, Atkinson said, the virus produced no observable effects besides obesity.