Interesting news on obesity and Alzheimer’s (damn, I’m posting a lot today!)

First, from wldrose, Vaccine may target obesity in the future

When babies receive shots against diseases like polio and measles, their vaccinations may in the future include protection against getting fat, according to researchers.

Infection by certain pathogens triggers rapid increases in fatty tissue in animals, Nikhil Dhurnadha told the annual meeting of NAASO, the Obesity Society, in this western Canadian city.

At the same time, the discovery that many more obese people than normal-weight people have been exposed to a certain virus suggests a link between obesity and viral infection…

Dhurandhar became interested in viral causes of obesity while working as a family physician in Bombay in the 1980s, during a severe outbreak of SMAM1, an adeno virus that kills chickens.

A friend noticed that the dead chickens were unusually fat, with enlarged livers, kidneys, low cholesterol levels and an atrophied thymus gland…

“In 10 years, people may be able to walk into a clinic and be told that their obesity is due to X cause, such as genes, the endocrine system, or pathogens. That may have a more productive outcome than a blanket treatment right now, (which) is not very successful,” said Dhurandhar.

And because viruses are hard or impossible to treat, he said, prevention through vaccines will be key.”

And this one, from shamangirl: Good News for Pot Smokers

An oft-mentioned danger of marijuana smoking—so widely believed that the smokers themselves admit it all the time—is that it kills your brain cells.

But a new study has found that one of marijuana’s active ingredients actually helps produce new brain cells, and this is correlated with anxiety-reducing effects…

[T]he new study found that rats given heavy doses an artificial version of a potent, active ingredient of marijuana grew new brain cells.

In the journal’s November issue, Xia Zhang and colleagues from University of Saskatchewan found that creation of new brain cells was aided by a “potent and synthetic cannabinoid,” or man-made version of a compound extracted from marijuana.

The rats also exhibited less anxiety- and depression- like behavior after a month of the treatment, the study found.

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