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Virus Causes Obesity; Obesity Causes Heart Disease?

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posted on Nov, 26 2004 @ 09:54 AM
Both obesity and heart disease are epidemic in the USA, causing widespread stroke and early death. A virus may cause obesity says one study; another links obesity to heart disease. Different research links heart disease to pollution. Earlier studies show chronic infections play a role in heart disease and stroke - and the EPA links obesity to genetic mutations caused by exposure to environmental chemicals during pregnancy. It's all true, says the new science paradigm. Going well beyond old-science assumptions of simple cause-and-effect, the new paradigm says modern diseases are interconnected, and result from the interaction of multiple factors like infections, pollution and new genetic mutations caused by both.
"Dr. Richard Atkinson, of Obetech, in Richmond, Va., said he believes he has found a virus that usually causes obesity. "I can with absolute certainty say if you are a chicken, a mouse, or a monkey and I squirt this virus up your nose, you have a better than an 80 percent chance of getting fat," Atkinson said. (The virus is a human adenovirus) ...Atkinson believes that obesity virus exchanged genetic material with a human virus (like AIDS, SARS and bird flu). ...he thinks it may affect the fat cell directly."
"CHICAGO (Reuters) - Obesity raises the risk of atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heartbeat that can lead to stroke and early death... Uncontrolled atrial fibrillation, which is reaching epidemic proportions ...raises the risk of stroke up to five-fold and doubles the risk of death..."
"Researchers reported a link yesterday between long-term air pollution and the early stages of artery disease in people long before they showed obvious symptoms."
"...the risk of heart attack or stroke was increased by 24 percent for persons with antibodies to cytomegalovirus (CMV), which strikes between 50 percent and 85 percent of people by the time they reach age 40."
"Jan. 8, 2002 ... a new study shows that the more infections you have throughout your life, the more likely you are to die from heart disease. ...the number of infections was directly related to dying from heart disease or stroke."
"The ever-expanding reach of obesity is leading some scientists to look beyond traditional explanations that implicate genes, diet, and physical activity. At a 20 February 2004 symposium titled Obesity: Developmental Origins and Environmental Influences, ... presenters discussed data that support the hypothesis that in utero or neonatal exposures to environmental chemicals, notably endocrine disruptors, play a role in the etiology of obesity."

So where's the conspiracy? Like all "conspiracies," this one proves to be about profits when you follow the money.

Old-science dogma says these studies contradict one another, and claim there is one "cause-and-effect" for everything, including disease.

Not so, asserts the new paradigm, an expansion of "complex adaptive systems analysis" that integrates various sciences under one banner. It says everything is connected and has multiple effects. The medical side of the new paradigm is pitched in stock issues as metabolomics, bioinformatics, proteomics and the like. Cutting edge researchers are working to unravel the inter-connections, from the protein and cellular levels on up.

Modern diseases now are understood as "multifactorial" - meaning they result from several factors interacting to create disease. Known factors include pathogens like infections and environmental contamination. Another big factor is genetic mutation, which is created by exposures to chemicals, radiation and certain diseases. Then there are the body's immune responses and mechanical reactions to the 'stress' of these damaging exposures, which also play a role in causing progression. The point is, there's no one cause-and-effect, no single enemy to target.

Common old-science medical myths fight against the new paradigm. These myths claim that infectious diseases were "handled" long ago and aren't a problem any more - that the effects of environmental contamination are limited or unproven - and that modern diseases are caused by "genetics" or "personal lifestyle choices." It's just spin. For example, the genetics myth focuses inaccurately on "bloodline," not the new mutations that now appear with regularity. Still, the myths are shored up by new legislation and public health policies that focus on "Personal Responsibility in Health."

Contrary to carefully manipulated public perception, the science underlying the new paradigm is not in question. What's at issue here are priorities: public health versus profits. Any admission that infections and environmental contamination cause disease opens the door to liability charges, and the costs of clean-up. That's the problem, not the science.

The food, water and medical industries are chiefly responsible for spreading the infections and distributing dangerous chemicals. Most of the infectious agents are new mutations, and the chemicals are new. So they're not regulated, or filtered out of our water, or targeted for effective decontamination.

New nano-filters are available to filter infectious and chemical agents out of water and other liquids - but they cost. New and more reliable methods can properly disinfect, sterilize and decontaminate food production facilities - but they cost. Effective filtering and decontamination would prevent the spread and curb progression - but it would cost. So industry pays mercenary scientists to question the validity of respected research, create synthetic controversy and confuse the public. The goal is to avoid liability and the costs of clean-up.

The US EPA established the Environmental Genome Project (EPG) in 1997 to investigate the multiple factors contributing to modern disease, and their genetic impacts. Unfortunately, the EGP was practically neutralized in the early 2000's. Researchers at Stanford University then created the folding@home project to unravel the DNA/RNA/protein connections. Most recently, IBM and a group of international organizations created the World Community Grid, making the "Human Proteome Folding Project" their first priority. Like SETI, folding@home and the World Community Grid harness the unused power of PC's around the world to analyse complex data.

Science has proved that modern diseases are interconnected, and result from the interaction of multiple factors like infections, pollution and new genetic mutations. The interactions are not fully understood, so treatments and cures remain elusive. Folding@home and the World Community Grid represent our best hope to unravel the mysteries of modern disease, and find solutions.

From my files:

1928 - "Congenital heart-block. The occurrence of two cases of congenital heart-block in one family is so unusual as to deserve being placed on record." Brit. Med. J. 1: 943, 1928. Aylward, R. D.

Heart Block, Congenital. (Now common)
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