The Virus That Could Make You Fat

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The Virus That Could Make You Fat featured image

Looking for another excuse for American obesity? How about the common cold?

Louisiana State University researchers removed stem cells from liposuctioned human tissue, and then exposed it to adenovirus-36, or Ad-36, which is from a family of viruses that cause respiratory and eye infections. Once exposed to Ad-36, more than half of the stem cells turned into storage-capable fat cells.

Although this wouldn’t explain all weight gain, it could turn out to be a legitimate cause in some cases. Previous studies have shown that one-third of obese people are infected with Ad-36, whereas only one in ten people with a healthy weight are infected.

If scientists can confirm that a virus can, indeed, cause weight gain, that means a preventative vaccine could be created. However, it wouldn’t help the already-overweight, nor would it cancel out the simple fact that eating more calories than one burns will lead to weight gain, infection or not.

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