Contagious obesity? Identifying the human adenoviruses that may make us fat

January 30, 2006 |

There is a lot of good advice to help us avoid becoming obese, such as “Eat less,” and “Exercise.” But here’s a new and surprising piece of advice based on a promising area of obesity research: “Wash your hands.”

There is accumulating evidence that certain viruses may cause obesity, in essence making obesity contagious, according to Leah D. Whigham, the lead researcher in a new study, “Adipogenic potential of multiple human adenoviruses in vivo and in vitro in animals,” in the January issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology published by the American Physiological Society.

The study, by Whigham, Barbara A. Israel and Richard L. Atkinson, of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, found that the human adenovirus Ad-37 causes obesity in chickens. This finding builds on studies that two related viruses, Ad-36 and Ad-5, also cause obesity in animals.

Moreover, Ad-36 has been associated with human obesity, leading researchers to suspect that Ad-37 also may be implicated in human obesity. Whigham said more research is needed to find out if Ad-37 causes obesity in humans. One study was inconclusive, because only a handful of people showed evidence of infection with Ad-37 ? not enough people to draw any conclusions, she said. Ad-37, Ad-36 and Ad-5 are part of a family of approximately 50 viruses known as human adenoviruses.

Researchers now must:

* identify the viruses that cause human obesity
* devise a screening test to identify people who are infected
* develop a vaccine

Screening test and vaccine still a long way off

The Whigham et al. study prompted an editorial in the same issue of AJP-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology by Frank Greenway, professor in the Department of Clinical Trials, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.

“If Ad-36 is responsible for a significant portion of human obesity, the logical therapeutic intervention would be to develop a vaccine to prevent future infections,” Greenway wrote. “If a vaccine were to be developed, one would want to ensure that all the serotypes of human adenoviruses responsible for human obesity were covered in the vaccine.”

“If one could predict the potential of an adenovirus to cause human obesity by using an in vitro assay or even by animal testing, screening of the approximately 50 human adenoviruses might be accelerated, shortening the time required for vaccine formulation,” Greenway wrote. “Human antibody prevalence in obese and lean human populations appears to be the only reliable method to screen adenoviruses for their potential to cause obesity in humans at the present time,” he noted.

Obesity contagion theory slow to catch on

The notion that viruses can cause obesity has been a contentious one among scientists, Whigham said. And yet, there is evidence that factors other than poor diet or lack of exercise may be at work in the obesity epidemic. “The prevalence of obesity has doubled in adults in the United States in the last 30 years and has tripled in children,” the study noted. “With the exception of infectious diseases, no other chronic disease in history has spread so rapidly, and the etiological factors producing this epidemic have not been clearly identified.”

“It makes people feel more comfortable to think that obesity stems from lack of control,” Whigham said. “It’s a big mental leap to think you can catch obesity.” However, other diseases once thought to be the product of environmental factors are now known to stem from infectious agents. For example, ulcers were once thought to be the result of stress, but researchers eventually implicated bacteria, H. pylori, as a cause.

“The nearly simultaneous increase in the prevalence of obesity in most countries of the world is difficult to explain by changes in food intake and exercise alone, and suggest that adenoviruses could have contributed,” the study said. “The role of adenoviruses in the worldwide epidemic of obesity is a critical question that demands additional research.”

Ad-37 third virus implicated in animal obesity

The theory that viruses could play a part in obesity began a few decades ago when Nikhil Dhurandhar, now at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at LSU, noticed that chickens in India infected with the avian adenovirus SMAM-1 had significantly more fat than non-infected chickens. The discovery was intriguing because the explosion of human obesity, even in poor countries, has led to suspicions that overeating and lack of exercise weren’t the only culprits in the rapidly widening human girth. Since then, Ad-36 has been found to be more prevalent in obese humans.

In the current study, Whigham et al. attempted to determine which adenoviruses (in addition to Ad-36 and Ad-5) might be associated with obesity in chickens. The animals were separated into four groups and exposed to either Ad-2, Ad-31, or Ad-37. There was also a control group that was not exposed to any of the viruses. The researchers measured food intake and tracked weight over three weeks before ending the experiment and measuring the chickens’ visceral fat, total body fat, serum lipids, and viral antibodies.

Chickens inoculated with Ad-37 had much more visceral fat and body fat compared with the chickens infected with Ad-2, Ad-31 or the control group, even though they didn’t eat any more. The Ad-37 group was also generally heavier compared to the other three groups, but the difference wasn’t great enough to be significant by scientific standards.

The authors concluded that Ad-37 increases obesity in chickens, but Ad-2 and Ad-31 do not. “Ad-37 is the third human adenovirus to increase adiposity in animals, but not all adenoviruses produce obesity,” the study concluded.

There is still much to learn about how these viruses work, Whigham said. “There are people and animals that get infected and don’t get fat. We don’t know why,” she said. Among the possibilities: the virus hasn’t been in the body long enough to produce the additional fat; or the virus creates a tendency to obesity that must be triggered by overeating, she said.

Mass screening for these viruses is impractical right now because there is no simple blood test available that would quickly identify exposure to a suspect virus, Whigham et al. said. More work is needed to develop such a test, Whigham said.

From APS

68 Responses to Contagious obesity? Identifying the human adenoviruses that may make us fat

  1. mobile games April 15, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    What i do not understood is in truth how you are not actually
    much more well-appreciated than you may be now. You are very intelligent.

    You realize therefore significantly in terms of this matter, produced me for my part believe it from so many numerous angles.
    Its like women and men are not interested unless it is one thing to accomplish with Girl gaga!
    Your own stuffs great. Always maintain it up!

  2. online loans Canada November 15, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on siutes I stumbleupon
    on a daiy basis. It’s always exciting to read content from
    other authors and practice something from
    other websites.

  3. mesothelioma guide November 1, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    It would likely also be necessary to ask the
    actual attorney just to walk them over the legal method
    involved whenever filing a new mesothelioma state.
    Its team includes Texas mesothelioma lawyers who are
    very experienced in asbestos litigation. Article Source:
    Wrobleski is the author of this article.

  4. great article about environmental sanitation October 25, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    You can go ahead and take subway and become in Harlem, Brooklyn or Jersey.
    Self dscipline is important should you be to enjoy tthe great things about a pleasing personality.
    Koop, who carries a backgrouhd inn Custom Cabinetmaking, decided
    to identify a strategy to better leverage hiss skills as this lucrative busines of his was quite time-demanding.

  5. Smartphone Bestenliste October 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    Thanks designed for sharing such a fastidious idea, paragraph is nice, thats
    why i have read it fully

  6. clash of clans triches September 14, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    I all the time emailed this webpage post page to all my friends, as if like to read it next my links will too.

  7. mortgage loans with low down payment April 24, 2013 at 12:31 am #

    I got this website from my friend who informed me on the topic of this site and at the moment this time I am visiting this web site
    and reading very informative articles here.

  8. financial planning using excel download April 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon
    this I’ve discovered It absolutely useful and it has aided me out loads. I am hoping to give a contribution & aid other customers like its helped me. Great job.

  9. April 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    certainly like your web-site but you have to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts.
    Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it
    very bothersome to inform the reality however
    I’ll certainly come back again.

  10. April 1, 2013 at 5:43 am #

    I really like looking through a post that will make men and
    women think. Also, thanks for allowing me to

  11. Joni March 31, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    Attractive component to content. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to assert that I
    acquire actually loved account your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing for your feeds and even I success you get admission to constantly fast.

  12. Candace March 22, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I don’t know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

  13. romance stories March 22, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    Hi! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  14. Paul March 12, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    Are really saying that the Virus ad36 doesnt make people fat , so why is there 97 million in the usa , wake up , with all the things farmers do with the food they grow????? BUT the thing is there is a big money in , the Gov of the world will not stop this , and this way they wil kill off more people just like smoking ect you know what i mean .I having seen it on the wall, just wake up , because its to late now .

  15. How to lose weight fast in 9 days March 4, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    Touche. Solid arguments. Keep up the great effort.

  16. Irvin March 2, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    I every time spent my half an hour to read this blog’s posts daily along with a mug of coffee.

  17. BelleStarr July 26, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    I really think publishing the results of your study NOW was a VERY bad idea. Any obese person or any person who is having weight problems who reads this, will immediately think that it’s not their problem about being obese. It’s a VIRUS!! So, they can just go ahead an eat all they want! Hence, making the problem even worse.

  18. Jazza January 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Fed up with Factory farms and battery chickens. We should not have animals treated like this. They have blood and organs and a brain.

    The eventual result is viruses, viruses, viruses. From animal to human and each time, getting worse.

    We produce far too much food in this world and throw away vast amounts of food. What is the point of these gigantic factory farms? Why is it the aim to stuff people as much as possible with masses of food? Are these people trying to kill us slowly?

  19. Anonymous September 24, 2010 at 11:12 am #


  20. Steve Nordquist September 21, 2010 at 10:24 pm #

    That German vitamin thing is insane (or incentive to visit Belgium); there are silly big import taxes on things that weigh over 5oz. and I can see that knocking out getting an occasional gift (which exclude some of that tax. Nice story.

    Likewise the fat gardener one. It looks like a gut bacteria change (and probably a rhizome and gut parasite infection) got you there, but I didn’t take the stool samples. Sleep-eating might be next to knock out.

    I’m laughing at the people who say they should sue the researchers. How well they worship their dark lord when in the morning, it happens to be too overcast for a nicer sunrise.

    I should try to laugh at getting laid making one fat; if your uncertified relationship was the only source of stress in your life maybe you let go more than you set to.

    It also makes a bit of sense to say the cold only affects statesiders because we don’t have the bread (from Paneria, eaten as all killed yeasts and bacteria, mind) to sort gut fauna out with whatever signaling, IgE, interleukin and other flavors matter in Europe, Brazil, Polynesia, Australia and Asia. It’s just not on doctors’ agendas much, which is awful; apparently if two-star or better meals and research hospitals get too close, they disintegrate. (Walking distance for doctors is farther than any client will go, too often.)

  21. Steve Nordquist September 21, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    Too bad psychology has bupkis to do with the study. Go home.

  22. parts tools June 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    Nice post & nice blog. I love both.

  23. pariuri sportive June 22, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    Well worth to read this article, thanks for sharing this information. With this article you offered me got a chance to know about this, anyway i say Great Article! and waiting for you next article about this interesting subject.

  24. Robert Jones June 1, 2010 at 7:23 pm #

    I see this is a rather old post but it seems not much has advanced to 2010.

    Can people gain weight due to a infection?

    No question about it – yes
    Are all fat people infected? – no idea since there is no screening test.

    Probably any chronic infection can change metabolism.
    Ones that come to mind.
    – Lyme disease
    – herpes family virus.

    People that have had mono or chicken pox have the herpes virus in their bodies forever. Its dormant held in check by the immune system
    Usually when older (60s) or on immunsuppresant drugs the virus can come back.
    Even when we have no symptoms the virus is continually trying to come out. On some people the amount of free virus goes up and down, its not zero.

    I had this happen to me about 3 years ago. Became ill with flue like illness and gained 60lbs. Mind you I was an active singles tennis player and not fat.

    One diagnosis was lyme with secondary viral infections.
    Antibiotics (iv) helped but did not due much for the weight gain. I ate the same as my wife and kids yet I still gained weight. I felt flue like all the time and energy levels seemed low.

    3 years of various abs I stopped and went on an antiviral. Acyclovir.
    After being on the acyclovir for 2 months the weight levels magically dropped. I did not special diet, I drank and ate everything I wanted to.
    I drank coke, burgers etc. Also energy levels began to raise.

    On blood tests only cytomegalo virus was high, that virus is not susceptable to acyclovir. Lyme (bacterial) infection may be the underlying reason why my body can’t keep the virus in check but once out the virus is much more damaging and debilitating.

    There are various levels or degrees to the infection. Like I said there are asymptomatic people that if you check they will show some active viral load. Maybe that load is decreasing their energy 1 percent, hardly noticable. When the infection reaches a certain point it starts to affect other body systems. Its just enough to make you feel chronically tired etc. Not enough to put you in the hospital. These will fly under the radar of your family MD.
    Blood tests will mostly be normal. Hymatocrit and C reative proteins may be elevated. This is a non specific indicator of inflammation.

    eventually some body system will be affected, pancrease, heart, lung, kidneys. At that point they will name the disease for the affected organ. Your diabetic, you have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome etc, you have RA. Most of the diseases that are diagnosed do not have a known etiology. Its just a name without cause.

    The root cause is most likely low grade infection. Most likely virus.
    The chronic infection over time causes damage, the damage is very slow, it sort of sneaks up over years.

    Why acyclovir helped me?
    Either it is active against cytomegalo or its active against another (not detected on blood work) virus.

    Even though you may have an active virus the blood titers do not always show it. ie. You can have a very active case of ocular herpes which can lead to blindness and have no increase antibodies over baseline. A study in 2001 demonstrated that trying to use bloodwork to track the progress of ocular herpes is futile.

    If we did not see the active virus in the epithelium via microscope we would have to rely on blood work. We would tell the patient, “you can’t have active herpes, the blood work looks normal.

    Do you really believe that the skin and eye are the only places we can have an active viral infection? No, they are just places where the doctor can easily see a lesion. If the lesion is in the central nervous system, etc. Other than biopsy there is no easy way to get a look at the tissue. Xrays, MRI only show things when the damage is sever. Low grade damage will not likely show up until its too late. Blood work while useful has many blind spots.

    Weight gain over a short period of time has to be explained. Saying its due to age or lack of exercise comes from Drs who either do not understand or don’t care.

    If I did not take acyclovir I think I might have hit 300 pounds. I was 185 and in good shape.

    The exact mechanism of what it does to the body to cause the weight gain is unknown to me.
    Some hypothesis.
    1. Decreases the metobolic rate of affected cells. This may be from intracellular viral effects.
    2. Changes metobolic rate via central nervous system changes. This might be from low grade inflammation ie. cytokines.

    Not saying that all fat people have a viral cause but I will say there are probably a fair number of people out there that have low grade infections as the root cause.

    Our screening and detection needs to be better. The problem of letting these low grade infections go on is what happens down the road.
    Most hosptials and Drs will treat a sever infection, one in which you are critically ill with body systems shutting down. However low grade ones will slip under the radar. They steal energy but not quite enough to put you in the hospital. The effects are cumulative over months to years. You will see the Dr. for it some day. They will name the disease for the organ that is effected. They will most likely treat the condition from a cook book recipe with little regard as to the why or how it arose.

    If these stealty low grade infectors could be screened and treated early a great deal of human suffering could be avoided. Insurance companies should invest money in this because its pay me now or pay me later. The diseases created are not easily fixed, they require frequent office visits which costs insurance providers.

    Research for antivirals does not seem to be at the forfront. I think we have had zero ocular antivirals in the past 20 years. Wait, scratch that we do have the new Zirgan from a small company trying to invade the niche market.
    Here is a recent article on herpes zoster.

    ScienceDaily (Mar. 8, 2010) — Having a shingles infection that affects the eyes may increase the risk of stroke

    Increase risk of stroke is the tip of the iceberg. It will affect many areas in the body to varying degrees, essentially aging faster. Its not just increased risk of stroke. I did not have a stroke, but did have massive pulmonary embolism. There were indicators but were ignored. Things like elevated hematocrit (thick blood), elevated Crp, blue feet. Basically the chronic inflammation lead to changes in my blood chemistry which lead to blood clots everywhere. Enough to stop my heart. The clots were treated but the sherlock holmes investigation to the etiology only went as far as testing for genetic blood disorders. The source was ultimately found 2 years later via a infectious disease specialist.

    Bottom line is dormant viruses must be held in check. Some people have a more difficult time keeping these in check. It might be the strain of virus, genetic predisposition, medications (steroids) or anything that can reduce the immune system. In my case the unlikely candidate was the so called (Black mold) 6 week exposure lead to pulmonary hypersensitivity reaction and also activation of once dormant virus and bacteria. Over the past 3 years I have learned that most Drs do not have a clue. Some will blame the mold (toxins) some will says its asthma. They only know their specialty and will do their damnedest to fit you into it.

    Until we figure out the mechanism I would think a short term course of antivirals (2 months) is worth the risk for people that have unexplained weight gain and fatigue.
    There are blood tests that can be of use but they are not always reliable.

  25. Anonymous February 5, 2010 at 10:49 pm #

    What a great read this has been. Food for thought… maybe a big mac or a family sized pizza.

  26. Anonymous February 5, 2010 at 10:49 pm #

    What a great read this has been. Food for thought… maybe a big mac or a family sized pizza.

  27. Anonymous June 18, 2009 at 10:43 am #

    I know that this is an older post, but I had the same problem. Very pretty, active, slim little girl in ballet, tap, and jazz. Got Chicken Pox when I was 8-9 and porked out. Eating habits didn’t really change. Energy levels became lower. I too have been diagnosed with PCOS in addition to Endometriosis, Insulin Resistance, and Hypercholesterolemia. This is definately a very interesting correlation to think about.

  28. Anonymous May 28, 2008 at 6:52 pm #

    I am from Germany. A few years ago i tried to mail my parents Vitamins (gnc) because trying to get anything other than Vitamin C (synthetic btw) in Germany is literally impossible.

    My Mother said they called them both into the Main Post Office 30 miles from their home (Not even the local one) wanting an answer from them why they had Vitamins coming from the USA.
    They were told the sale and distribution of Vitamins in Germany is illegal.
    My parents never received those Vitamins.

    At first we were all really confused, and mad! Later on it dawned on me, Germany’s main economical income is from chemical and pharmaceutical industries. They dont have the land to farm, just about everything they eat or drink is imported from some other country. They want people to be sick…go to the doctor, get a prescription of some harmful new drug and be sent on their way, only to come back 6 months later with another dilemma.

    My Mother has been on high blood pressure medication since the age of 24 ! She is now 65.

  29. Anonymous May 26, 2008 at 5:18 pm #

    my girl crazy, man!

  30. Anonymous May 12, 2008 at 11:44 am #

    I have a Question. Has anyone ever noticed the Change in a persons Body… after sex. Take two people, one a confirmed bachelor, the other a married man. Brothers. What do they look like at age 40? A for me, I was as skinny as a rail until I was thirty. I married at age 26. I went from a size 32 to a 34 jean. By age thirty I was a size 36. At age 31 I married again and was up to a size 38 in no time. My eating habits were the same and I was working two jobs. By the age of forty I was a size 38-40.
    At the same time has anyone ever noticed that it is not until a person marries that the body seems to change? I have heard that the body reacts to the number of people that it is around. The more people that a person is around the more germs the body has to deal with. SO maybe by being married the body’s immune system starts breaking down faster and suffers a form of toxicity and begins to get obese. Well… could that be worth thinking about?

  31. Anonymous May 7, 2008 at 12:30 pm #

    In 1980 shortly after joining the military I got some sort of illness that the military never diagnosed. I lost 12 pounds while is was sick. It left me tired and weak with mental confusion for 12 months after the symptoms left. In 1989 after repeated exposure to second hand smoke I had more respiratory illnesses. While I took the powerful antibiotics I slept most of the time and was not awake enough to eat much food. I gained 15 pounds and I have never since had the same energy level.
    Now each time I get sick I gain weight. Doctors have also put me on anti depressant meds for headaches and I have gained weight. Nothing I have done to loose the weight has worked. Deep in my soul something is telling that there is something to this fat virus/gene. Shauna Pearce

  32. Anonymous March 22, 2008 at 9:10 pm #

    my question Obesity resulting from Chicken Pox?
    Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 2008-03-22 07:15.
    I was a slim and active child. I had chicken pox at age 10 or 11, and it was like someone turned the light switch off. I had no energy any more and I started to lose athletic track races. I started to put on weight and was diagnosed with PCOS in my thirties. I did a web searach once and found one woman who had been slim until her twenties when she had chicken pox, and then had unexplained weight gain and she was eventually diagnosed with PCOS. Also I believe she did not change her diet at all.
    Has any one else had this happen? Could Chicken Pox be a cause?

  33. Anonymous December 15, 2007 at 12:52 pm #

    This is very interesting. The same thing happened to me when I was 17. I averaged around 135-145lbs and looked quite fit and desirable. Suddenly, I moved in with a man (did not change my diet and eat more) at age 17. I suddenly experienced illness and fatigue. I also experienced rapid weight gain. Between August and December of the same year I went from 145lbs to 220lbs. I was NOT overeating. My diet had NOT changed significantly. I went to the doctor and numerous blood tests were done and everything came out normal, thyroid and all. This was in 1999. Since then I have remained mostly steady around 220lbs, sometimes getting up to 240lbs and with dieting being able to get down to 205. My symptoms were mostly nausea and fatigue, (that was noticeable), however none of this testing was done until after the weight increase was complete.

  34. anonymous November 23, 2007 at 11:37 am #

    Obesity may essentially be a symptom of liver toxicity…whether virus or just excessive toxic load, the liver conks out and can no longer metabolize toxins or fats effectively and this leads to obesity…

    The Fat Flush Plan by Ann Louis Gittleman

  35. Anonymous September 21, 2007 at 9:36 am #

    From the study the evidence supports the idea that AD-36 is the cause of stem cells tranforming to fat cells and these fat being more “fatty” then usual. The immune system eventually destories the virus, leaving the extra fat cells which do what fat cells do, accumulate fat.

    Why do skinny people test positive for AD-36? They may have caught AD-36, but there immune system reacted quickly enough to kill the virus before it could do much harm. They may have had a jump start by having had another in the adenovirus family, that does not promote weight gain. There may be other genetic or environmental contibutors. Follow-up studies would be interesting on these possibilities.

    Why do not all fat people test positive for AD-36? There are many reasons for weight gain. Nothing in the study suggests infection is required for weight gain. Only that infection CAN lead to weight gain in SOME people.

    That being said, there is no reason anyone should avoid fat people. The weight gain occurs after infectious period. The contrary is more appropiate. Fat people are more likely to have already had and got over the infectious virus. Skinny people with pink eye and respiritory colds are the ones you should avoid.

  36. Anonymous August 22, 2007 at 4:48 pm #

    What ever happened to what researchers called the ‘fat gene’?

  37. domino August 21, 2007 at 5:20 pm #

    this sounds really interesting.
    from my own experience, i gained massive amounts of weight (pounds per week) with no obvious cause.
    my occupation was manual – landscape gardener – regularly shifting tons of soil, digging etc.
    i ate my usual foods but i began putting the weight on.
    for a period of 9 months i had bad problems digesting food (for anyone squeamish…the toilet was my friend), and still my weight increased.
    eventually, aching, exhausted, and with unrelenting severe, stomach pains, i got diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.
    the doctor never took the weight-gain symptom seriously, but it was the first obvious sign of my health problem (whatever this illness really is).
    all of this has ended up with me being 6 stone heavier than i used to be, virtually housebound, and extremely frustrated at being unable to follow my old interests – motor-cycling, running, soccer and squash.
    i was always ‘skinny’ and very active, i didn’t eat rubbish and i didn’t have the time or inclination to slob about watching tv… what happened???

  38. Missee August 20, 2007 at 5:56 pm #

    I’d like to know where this virus came from. I do believe this is possibly true, but the virus is probably man-made and not a naturally occuring virus in our environment. When I think about it, what comes to mind is that this virus can serve many purposes for those with a wicked agenda; just like the AIDS virus. Now just think about how much profit can be made off of fat people from the pharmaceutical, health, medical and food/agribusiness industries – – PLENTY! And don’t forget genocide to reduce the population, after they make a lot of money on us, of course! Could this virus be sprayed on our foods, or maybe directly on us without us even knowing about it?
    Let us not forget that parasites (worms) can cause enormous weight gain as well as many other illnesses and debilities common in our population, too! But, of course our doctors are only going to treat the symptoms and not the causes as usual (gatekeepers for big pharma).

  39. Anonymous August 1, 2007 at 10:58 am #

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment about the adenovirus. I receive intuitive information from my subconscious and was informed that I had caught a virus from eating chicken and that it was making me fat and to stay away from chicken. Everything I eat has some effect on my body and even though I might not remember it consciously, my subconscious collects millions of bits of information for my use. Thank you for being so intelligent and perceptive.

  40. seeking health myself July 29, 2007 at 7:55 pm #

    Your symptoms are consistent with Lyme disease (borrelia infection) or low thyroid or who knows, it could be both. Lyme disease/borrelia is a worldwide infection acquired from tick bites and who knows how else, e.g., mosquitoes. Don’t believe a doctor who says Lyme is not in your area, as I was told a number of times! It easily can be or where you have traveled to. The CDC requirements for reporting are too difficult for most cases to meet. Or-low thyroid. I know, you were tested. Find out if it was only a TSH, which is not helpful in cases where the pituitary is to blame, for example. I went to many, many doctors before I was given thyroid. My TSH was in the “normal” range and my T4 was low normal. I don’t know how they get the ranges they use, but your own symptoms should be taken into consideration. Unfortunately, doctors rely solely on the TSH to the grave detriment of many suffering individuals (
    Best wishes in your search for good health.

  41. July 29, 2007 at 7:23 pm #

    We sat down with psychologist Dr. Cheryl Fraser to get a professional interpretation of this study. It was quite interesting. You can watch the video on our blog:

    or watch it on MetaCafe:

  42. tbrime July 29, 2007 at 4:47 pm #

    I find all of this very interesting! I went through what the doctors have labeled as Premature ovarian failure when I was just 19. Though the first two years after the onset went by without a hitch, the third was not quite so quiet. Without warning, I started gaining weight and was up 15 lbs in one month! I was in the Military at the time. PE every morning for an hour and of course I had a well balanced diet but was not able to get the weight to come off no matter what I did. I was always a slim/lanky child. After trying every thing including starving myself for a week in which I still managed to gain 3 lbs, I finally went on the controversial Atkins Diet almost a year ago and managed to get myself down to a healthier 127 from 160 and still I find that if I have a moment of weakness in which I eat some bread or have a piece of fruit or anything that contains any carbs or sugar, I immediately gain a pound the following day!! This diet sucks! I use to be able to eat a normal diet, now I cant even enjoy fruit which we all know is good for you. BUT! I highly doubt any of this mumbo jumbo. My take on obesity is, either you are not eating healthy OR you have serious “Push Away Disease.” Some people just cant seem to put down the chicken wing!! I know there are people out there with real medical conditions that cause them to become obese. I recognize those people and give them my sympathies, but a virus?!! OH PLEASE! Quit making up excuses for these people and make them take some responsability for what they put into their mouth! And well you are at it…quit giving them disabled stickers to put in their car and make them walk from the back of the parking lot as well as through the store instead of riding in a motorized chair! After that, quit giving them medicine for every ache and pain they come to the doctors office with which also aids and abets weight gain and make them do some excersise instead. I think most doctors will find that when you stop making excuses for them and start telling them the truth and make them face it, they will finally be forced to face the facts—McDonalds every night or lasagna by the dish full is going to make you gain weight!! And one last thought. Drinking a diet coke with a greasy pizza will not make a bit of difference!

  43. Anonymous July 29, 2007 at 5:37 am #

    The drug companies will continue to find new ways to sell perscription drugs. this is nothing more than another attempt to keep people buying. – Control.

    Diet foods for example do nothing to curb obesity or even over wieght. Most diet foods contain chemicals that make you “feel” hungry. Not to mention the mental tought of “oh it’s diet – I can have another” way of thinking. My inlaws are overwieght, they eat diet foods all there life – none of them have lost wieght – hummm. – Control.

    Perscription drugs is a multi-billion dollar a year industry – WAKE UP PEOPLE!!
    The federal government has mandated that only a Doctor can Diagnose and treat a disease. If this becomes a disease, say good by to all forms of diet programs not approved by the FDA. – Control.

    Aids – there will never be a cure. Why? – Sell more drugs and treatment.
    Herpies – there will never be a cure. Why? – Sell more drugs and treatment.
    Cancer – there will never be a cure. Why? – Sell more drugs and treatment.
    Common cold – there will never be a cure. Why? – Sell more drugs and treatment.

    You can by stock in most “disease” reserch, including cancer and aids – if they find a cure they are out of busness. – Control.

    This is nothing more than a cop-out point the finger I don’t want to take the resposibility for my own body. IF by slim chance this is even remotly possible – then we need to quarentien ALL fat people imediatly! And by the way – I am infected with BSD (Bad Speller Disease)

  44. Anonymous July 28, 2007 at 8:53 pm #

    So maybe my fear of “catching” fatness fom an obese person isn’t crazy after all.

  45. Anonymous July 28, 2007 at 6:56 am #

    I was very ill during my first pregnancy with an upper respiratory infection…complication from allergies …and asthmatic bronchitis. I gained 80 lbs, and have tried everything to lose it. I was always able to lose weight quickly and easily before then, and was very thin and athletic . Now even with diet and excercise equal to what I used to do, and more so ..I have not been able to lose, and have gained more over the years..even when dieting! My son also has trouble with his weight, and gains very easily. If it was a virus during my pregnancy with him, than that could explain his problem as well. His 2 sisters are quite thin, and though only slightly younger, they eat as much as he does, without the weight gain.

  46. Anonymous July 26, 2007 at 5:45 am #

    Looks like we’ve found a cure for world hunger, we just ship a bunch of fat people to third world countries and problem solved!

  47. Anonymous July 26, 2007 at 4:54 am #

    This story was mocked months before it broke. By essayist and social daredevil Kim Brittingham:

  48. Anonymous July 26, 2007 at 4:39 am #

    If they aren’t right on this they are going to get sued. Very badly sued.

  49. Anonymous June 16, 2007 at 5:48 am #

    I believe that the theory or hypothesis link of obesity to a viral infection is stating that it may be the cause of some cases of obesity. And it may be the cause of some cases of obesity that have in the past been presumed to be based on heredity or genetics.

    If there is a virus, which has been proven scientifically be a medical doctor researcher from India, to be linked to cause the symtom of obesity, and that virus is contagous, then family members may expose each other causing them all to come down with the symtom of “obesity”, just like any other virus, such as chicken pox.

  50. Anonymous May 22, 2007 at 3:20 am #

    I have always been a skinny person, in fact when I was a teenager I was so skinny that I didn’t start to menstruate until I was 17. The same low weight persisted throughout my life and I loved to eat! until 2 years ago when I suddenly jumped from 8 stone 4 lbs to 11 stone in 6 months, my diet and exercise patterns had not changed, I have eaten organic foods for 15 years. I recently had a very heavy cold and didn’t eat solid foods, only drank liquids for a week, I lost 0 ounces, in my previous state of slimness, in the same circumstances I would have dropped half a stone in a week. My friend has also gained weight unexpectedly around the same time as I did and we regularly give each other colds etc as we hang out together a lot. I am deeply suspicious that other factors are at play and more research is needed into the root cause of sudden weight gain. when I visited my GP he simply looked bored and said “its your age” he’s such a comfort when you feel so exhausted and everything aches with the additional weight . It is a comfort to know that there are others who have experienced the same thing, I was beginning to feel like it was just that I was overeating, and therefore my fault, causing food to become my enemy, not something I have enjoyed my whole life. Medical bods, get some reasearch done.

  51. Anonymous April 30, 2007 at 5:44 pm #

    I just watched a documentary on Ad-36, which doesn’t make me an expert, but presumably I now know more than many of the previous people who’ve commented here:

    They checked a pair of twins who had very different body weights (which is said to be unusual, since identical twins tend to maintain nearly identical weights). The fatter twin tested positive for antibodies for the adenovirus; the skinny (normal) twin tested negative, meaning she had not been exposed. That seems like a pretty positive confirmation.

    The documentary suggested that fat people are not contagious… the virus comes along, modifies a bunch of “pre-fat” cells turning them into regular fat cells, and doesn’t stick around. The damage is done, and probably cannot be reversed.

    They tested a bunch of people in the UK; a substantial portion of the obese people did test positive for exposure to the adenovirus. The lean people that were tested as a control sample were all negative.

    The virus can’t be blamed for all the overweight people, but even if it’s only 1/4, that’s a heck of a lot of unwanted jiggling cellulite, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, humiliation and frustration that could be easily preventable if there were a vaccine against these adenoviruses.

  52. Anonymous January 27, 2007 at 8:40 pm #

    Sudden weight gain without a change in diet or exercise is a burden I personally have experienced, when I gained 60 lbs in six months for no apparent reason. In my case it was explained as the onset of an active case of polycystic ovarian disease at the age of 19. I find it interesting that I also have a history of respiratory infections from a very young age. I will be interested to see how this research plays out.

  53. July 2, 2006 at 7:15 am #

    I have an answer to your weight gain that may not have been considered. Remember it may not be the only answer. Probably you were given Antibiotics. Antibiotics are given to animals to fatten them and cause weight gain.

    I personally suspect that the principal issue in the modern epidemic of obesity is actually modern industrial farming. The process strips the food of base nutrients like trace minerals and produces a food which causes malnutrition. Canada has studied this in depth and the data is there. The varieties of foods as well have been altered for this purpose of causing more food demand. Modern Agricultural banking will not fund alternative methods and varieties.

    The basic fact is that animals will not given a balanced diet overeat and become fat in any real quantity. This imbalance of diet is deliberate in modern fatening operations for farming. The cows will never get fat like they do in a feed lot if given a natural decent diet. This fact is plain for the issue of fat people as well. Given what is essentially a feedlot diet they get fat.

    No doubt infections do influence this as well. The other posts on this forum remarking on hygene also are very realistic. This is a complex problem set.

  54. Anonymous February 4, 2006 at 3:35 pm #


  55. February 3, 2006 at 11:46 am #

    Not all viruses act the same for all people. Some could be carriers.

  56. Anonymous January 31, 2006 at 6:09 am #

    So, which advanced scientific school of thought do you represent, where “shred” is spelt “shread?”

    If you want credibility when dismissing the research of others, you’d be well advised to brush up on basic English.

  57. Anonymous January 31, 2006 at 6:05 am #

    I agree with you that overweight people may suffer further discrimination because of this announcement. If the science is flawed then I condemn the media attention

    However, if obesity genuinely is virus-bourne, then we need this news to spread. Reducing the spread of the disease will not be helped by a shrouding the facts with well-meaning discretion. In this instance, let’s not let short-term sympathetic objections cloud the objective manner in which we must approach this issue.

  58. January 31, 2006 at 5:04 am #

    While this does make more of an incentive for people to wash their hands and be more hygienic, what does this mean for people who are heavy or obese, and depressed? I know a lot of people who are overweight that have had disgusting experiences of people being extremely rude to them just for the fact of being overweight. Telling the public that obesity is contagious will spur even more shunning and degrading acts towards overweight people.

  59. Anonymous January 30, 2006 at 9:56 pm #

    I think that is a very reasonable hypothesis.

  60. January 30, 2006 at 6:27 pm #

    I don’t know your age or diet history, I
    say this to open the subject of….
    How is your salt intake and potassium? A
    low “k-factor”, according to Dr Richard D.
    Moore M.D., Ph.D. in “The High Blood
    Pressure Solution” can lead to the loss
    of ability to matabolize fat properly.
    In my case, at 57 (two years now 59),
    going on a high potassium, very low sodium
    diet resulted in the loss of 32 pounds and
    it is staying off. I also got off the B.P.

  61. January 30, 2006 at 6:12 pm #

    I find not one shread of truth in this article.

  62. January 30, 2006 at 5:22 pm #

    I myself became ill, and had what my doctor called “mysterious” symptoms that were unrelated. Some of the symptoms included low fever, respiratory problems, join pain, muscle pain, and exhaustion. I also put on over 20 lbs in one month, with NO change in my diet or exercise level. I had a full workup of almost every blood test, x-ray and the like. They found nothing, thyroid normal, etc… He dismissed the weight gain, and insisted that I must have dramatically changed my diet or exercise to put on that much weight in a month. I was treated for the symptoms(not the weight gain) and told to diet and exercise more. I have been doing additional dieting and exercising for 4 MONTHS now and have only been able to lose about 5 pounds. Suffice it to say, I would like to see much more study in this area.

  63. January 30, 2006 at 5:21 pm #

    Assuming this holds up to scrutiny, it will be interesting to ask how such a virus got into the human population. The article implies that this happened recently (else it would not account for a recently-observed statistical uptick in obesity, contradicting the suggestions in the article).

    One might reasonably wonder if the industrialization of the chicken industry since WWII selected for this virus, which then found its way into human beings through the food supply. In other words, perhaps economic pressure to raise nice fat birds cheaply tended to make the virus more prevalent in chickens, increasing the likelyhood of eventual transmission to humans.

  64. January 30, 2006 at 4:20 pm #

    The age disparity noted in the frequency of obesity may be linked to the younger citizens being less likely to wash after, well, doing just about anything.
    The current lack of hygiene is not limited to mental…
    The propensity for (re)infection must be greater as a result?

  65. January 30, 2006 at 3:58 pm #

    I’m not one to go against scientific studies, but this one really got me interested in what are people thinking. Seriously, if obesity can now be classified as a contagious disease, then we should begin rounding up all the fat people into concentration camps to save the skinny people. Or better yet, have the obese march down to your local social services building and demand disablity because not only is being obese classified as a disease, you are now a detriment to society and should not be allowed into the workplace. Along those same lines, I know a good laywer that would sue for damages because now all the obese people would become xenophobic. And if we want to continue this slippery sloped logic, I know the leader of a small european nation that would love an excuse to terminate the lives of another 3 million people (although the stampede might not be worth it). On a serious note, to say that one can catch obesity is not only dangerous but fool-hardy, perhaps more research should have been done before making a claim as large(pardon the pun) as this. I do hope that the scientists involved get their funding so that they don’t have to scrub the tests after 3 weeks. On a personal note, my wife is large and one of my daughters is large, however, niether myself nor my youngest is large, proving that in the 6 years I’ve been married I have not “caught” fat. Enjoy your cake, and avoid the obese!!

  66. Anonymous January 30, 2006 at 3:25 pm #

    additionally the journal article shows no increase in the weight of the birds, just their fat content. AND they sack the birds 3 weeks after infection. Is that long enough for an immune response to develop to mitigate the consequences of infection? Is it even relevant to humans whatsoever?

  67. Anonymous January 30, 2006 at 2:55 pm #

    One would think that a very thin person would suddenly become obese after “catching” the virus — without changes to their eating or exercise regimen. Is there any evidence to suggest that this is the case? I have never heard of any “mystery” obesity cases which have risen out of no where. Also the obesity epidemic is rising in children even more than adults – why would a virus distinguish between the two (or if the answer is that older generations are resistant, why would that be the case?) Overall the conclusions of this study sound highly questionable even based on anecdotal evidence.

Leave a Reply

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *