• Wed, Aug 22 2007

Morning News Fix


Is Obesity a Virus?

It’s making for lots of buzz, but it’s unlikely. Though stem cells infected with adenovirus have been shown to convert to fat cells (in the lab), this hasn’t been proven in humans and the chance that this would play a legitimate role in skyrocketing obesity rates is, um, slim. (Adenovirus-36 causes the common cold and eye infections.)


Woman Delivers Natural Identical Quadruplets

The chance of a woman having identical quadruplets without the use of fertility treatments is 1 in 13 million. Karen and J.P. Jepp plan to avoid mixing up their four new identical girls by coding them with different nail polish colors. They also have a two-year-old boy – good luck, young man.

Understanding the Roots of Traumatic Memories

Scientists are studying a neurotransmitter than may explain why traumatic memories become permanently seared into the minds of their victims. Norepinephrine (commonly referred to as adrenaline) helps the brain to handle trauma, but it also tattoos the memory in the mind.

Man Survives Removal of Largest Facial Tumor on Record!

Incredible! A young Chinese man is recovering successfully from a life-threatening operation that removed a 10-kilogram tumor from his face (one of several facial tumors totaling nearly 50 pounds). He will have to relearn to walk as his sense of balance has been affected. To see the amazing video, click Read More. (But I do have to warn you that this moving story is not for the faint of stomach.)

tumor surgery

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  • Janis Summers

    O rats! I almost thought you were going to give me a little out for my overweight condition – I was looking for even a crack in the door – but then it seems you’re bringing me back to personal responsiblity. I was hoping I could go the victim route. I guess we can still be friends.

  • Sara

    You sound pretty responsible to me, Janis. Glad we can still be friends. ;)

    I wouldn’t generalize too heavily – er, sorry – about obesity. For some it really is a genetic problem. There are many conditions that make weight management difficult. For example, hypothyroidism makes it nearly impossible for some to lose weight. Stress and hormones play very important roles in both immunity and metabolism. That said, at the end of the day, reducing calories, refined carbs and the time on the couch are known ways to prevent and/or eliminate obesity. In general, it’s not a virus causing our obesity epidemic – it’s sugar, stress, and sloth.

  • http://mikeachim.typepad.com Mikeachim

    It worries me when it’s suggested that the smoking gun for obesity becomes bacteriological rather than cultural. This isn’t the first time. We keep looking.
    But 95 times out of a hundred, I’d argue, obesity is a personal habit.
    It’s interesting how politically incorrect this statement has become.

    Chinese man’s facial tumor….
    An incredible story. The human body is a simply amazing machine. We’re built to adapt and meet any individual challenge, mentally and physically. As individuals, we can shine so brightly….

    As societies, not always so bright.

  • http://mikeachim.typepad.com Mikeachim

    OK, maybe not 95/100. That’s me being provocative and unreasonable. However much I like to wind people up, this is a touchy subject. (For me, also, having been overweight. So I get a little militant and overcompensatory).
    What I don’t like the idea of is anyone thinking that their weight is predetermined. Searching for a virus that makes people obese…..turns weight gain into an illness. And then it’s easy to assume that on a personal level there’s nothing to be done – it’s up to specialists (ie. doctors).
    My issue isn’t with the research, I should add. It’s what happens when the newspapers get hold of the story.

  • Sara

    Mikeachim, I don’t think there’s anything unreasonable about your points. We can’t resolve things if we can’t be honest. ;)