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So the whole intarwebz is up in arms about the story on Fox News about a virus that can cause obesity.  Now lets all beat on Fox for running such nonsense. But before we do that, lets look into the thing, so that we can at least say we did more research than they probably did before running the story.

Turns out, it's a real virus, that really does go around your body and cause you to create more fat cells. The name of the thing is AD 36, which stands for adenovirus serotype 36. Main symptoms you would care about are respiratory and eye infections. It does one other thing too, which is turn adult stem cells from fat tissues into fat cells. Guess what? It doesn't "make you fat". Not all infected people will magically become sumo wrestlers. But about 2.7 times as many sumo wrestlers have this virus in their systems as beanpoles, it turns out. 30% of obese people carry antibodies to AD-36, while 11% of non-obese people have antibodies. That's right, fat and skinny people have been exposed to this virus. But fat people are more likely to have been exposed.

"But it was on Fox, and they are the House of Lies!" I don't disagree with you.  But part of being a House of Lies is to have a Vestibule of Truth so that people will be tricked into coming inside. 

***EDIT*** I'm bringing this up to the main post from the replies

...the quality of the Fox writing has nothing to do with the truth or fiction of the science behind it...

***end edit***

Here's the scholarly journal abstract I got my numbers from. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17908526

Date: 2010-05-06 01:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tozier-wah.livejournal.com
the journal title states "Obesity 'Virus' Spreads Like Common Cold, Scientists Say"

And the Main entry line says "Obesity can be "caught" as easily as a common cold from other people's coughs, sneezes and dirty hands, scientists said Monday."

While I agree there are viruses that directly interact and correlate to an increased production of adipose cells, the word Obesity, which they have used.... GROSSLY amount, means: "a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems.Body mass index (BMI), a measurement which compares weight and height, defines people as overweight (pre-obese) when their BMI is between 25 kg/m2 and 30 kg/m2, and obese when it is greater than 30 kg/m2."

Simple and dry of my reply, not only is it a misrepresentation of words and fear-tactic (health care COUGH COUGH), it is NOT EVEN USING the correct word as per definition!

Date: 2010-05-06 01:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] earendil31.livejournal.com
My problem with the general reaction to the Fox story is that in mocking the shoddy journalism involved, most of the blogs, tweets, etc. have instead denigrated the underlying studies that Fox (mis-)reported on.

My point in writing this journal, was to illustrate that it is just as wrong to simply dismiss the entire piece as BS because it was not phrased as well as could be wished.

It's a bad article. It does everything wrong. But the quality of the Fox writing has nothing to do with the truth or fiction of the science behind it, which, unfortunately, most people will never read or hear about, as they will be too busy making fun of Fox. So I wanted to do a little bit about that.

Date: 2010-05-06 01:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tozier-wah.livejournal.com
It's a complete mis-representation of the virus and the science. How is that not bad journalism, truth and or fiction?

Date: 2010-05-06 01:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] earendil31.livejournal.com
Hence my posting of the link, and an interpretation of the abstract, and my metaphor of the Vestibule of Truth.


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