The Role of Genes in the Obesity Epidemic

The Role of Genes in the Obesity Epidemic
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The big fat “fat gene” accounts for less than 1% of the differences in size between people.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

To date, about 100 genetic markers have been linked to obesity. But put all of them together and overall, they account for less than 3 percent of the difference in BMI between people. The “fat gene” you may have heard about (called FTO, short for “FaT mass and Obesity associated’’) is the gene most strongly linked to obesity, but it explains less than 1 percent of the difference between people––a mere 0.34 percent.

FTO codes for a brain protein that appears to affect your appetite. Are you one of the billion people that carry the FTO susceptibility genes? Who cares, as it only appears to result in a difference in intake of a few hundred extra calories a year. The energy imbalance that led to the obesity epidemic is on the order of hundreds of calories a day. And that’s the gene so far known to have the most effect. The chances of accurately predicting obesity risk based on FTO status is only slightly better than flipping a coin. In other words, no; those genes don’t make you look fat.

When it comes to obesity, the power of your genes is nothing compared to the power of your fork. Even the small influence the FTO gene has appears to be weaker among those who are physically active, and may be abolished completely in those eating healthier diets. FTO only appears to affect those eating diets higher in saturated fat (predominantly found in meat, dairy, and junk food). Those eating healthier appear to be at no greater risk of weight gain––even if they inherited the “fat gene” from both their parents.

Physiologically, FTO gene status does not appear to affect your ability to lose weight. Psychologically, knowing you’re at increased genetic risk for obesity may motivate some people to eat and live healthier, but may cause others to fatalistically throw their hands up in the air and resign themselves to thinking that it just runs in their family. Obesity does tend to run in families, but so do lousy diets.

Comparing the weight of biological versus adopted children can help tease out the contributions of lifestyles versus genetics. Children growing up with two overweight biological parents were found to be 27 percent more likely to be overweight themselves, whereas adopted children placed in a home with two overweight parents were 21 percent more likely to be overweight. So, genetics plays a role, but this suggests that it’s more the children’s environment than their DNA.

One of the most dramatic examples of the power of diet over DNA comes from the Pima Indians. The Pima Indians of Arizona have among the highest rates of obesity and the highest rates of diabetes in the world. This has been ascribed to their relatively fuel-efficient genetic makeup. Their propensity to store calories may have served them well in times of scarcity when they were living off of corn, beans, and squash. But, when the area became “settled”, their source of water, the Gila river, was diverted upstream. Those who survived the ensuing famine had to abandon their traditional diet to living off of government food programs, and chronic disease rates skyrocketed. Same genes, but different diet, different result.

In fact, a natural experiment was set up. The Pima living over the border in Mexico come from the same genetic pool, but were able to maintain more of their traditional lifestyle––sticking with their beans, tortillas, and potatoes. Same genes, but seven times less obesity, and about four times less diabetes. Genes may load the gun, but diet pulls the trigger.

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Video production by Glass Entertainment

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

To date, about 100 genetic markers have been linked to obesity. But put all of them together and overall, they account for less than 3 percent of the difference in BMI between people. The “fat gene” you may have heard about (called FTO, short for “FaT mass and Obesity associated’’) is the gene most strongly linked to obesity, but it explains less than 1 percent of the difference between people––a mere 0.34 percent.

FTO codes for a brain protein that appears to affect your appetite. Are you one of the billion people that carry the FTO susceptibility genes? Who cares, as it only appears to result in a difference in intake of a few hundred extra calories a year. The energy imbalance that led to the obesity epidemic is on the order of hundreds of calories a day. And that’s the gene so far known to have the most effect. The chances of accurately predicting obesity risk based on FTO status is only slightly better than flipping a coin. In other words, no; those genes don’t make you look fat.

When it comes to obesity, the power of your genes is nothing compared to the power of your fork. Even the small influence the FTO gene has appears to be weaker among those who are physically active, and may be abolished completely in those eating healthier diets. FTO only appears to affect those eating diets higher in saturated fat (predominantly found in meat, dairy, and junk food). Those eating healthier appear to be at no greater risk of weight gain––even if they inherited the “fat gene” from both their parents.

Physiologically, FTO gene status does not appear to affect your ability to lose weight. Psychologically, knowing you’re at increased genetic risk for obesity may motivate some people to eat and live healthier, but may cause others to fatalistically throw their hands up in the air and resign themselves to thinking that it just runs in their family. Obesity does tend to run in families, but so do lousy diets.

Comparing the weight of biological versus adopted children can help tease out the contributions of lifestyles versus genetics. Children growing up with two overweight biological parents were found to be 27 percent more likely to be overweight themselves, whereas adopted children placed in a home with two overweight parents were 21 percent more likely to be overweight. So, genetics plays a role, but this suggests that it’s more the children’s environment than their DNA.

One of the most dramatic examples of the power of diet over DNA comes from the Pima Indians. The Pima Indians of Arizona have among the highest rates of obesity and the highest rates of diabetes in the world. This has been ascribed to their relatively fuel-efficient genetic makeup. Their propensity to store calories may have served them well in times of scarcity when they were living off of corn, beans, and squash. But, when the area became “settled”, their source of water, the Gila river, was diverted upstream. Those who survived the ensuing famine had to abandon their traditional diet to living off of government food programs, and chronic disease rates skyrocketed. Same genes, but different diet, different result.

In fact, a natural experiment was set up. The Pima living over the border in Mexico come from the same genetic pool, but were able to maintain more of their traditional lifestyle––sticking with their beans, tortillas, and potatoes. Same genes, but seven times less obesity, and about four times less diabetes. Genes may load the gun, but diet pulls the trigger.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Video production by Glass Entertainment

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

Of course it’s not our genes! Our genes didn’t suddenly change 40 years ago. At the same time, though, in a certain sense, it could be thought of as all in our genes. That’s the topic of my next video The Thrifty Gene Theory: Survival of the Fattest

This is the second in an 11-part video series on the obesity epidemic. If you missed the first one, check out The Role of Diet vs. Exercise in the Obesity Epidemic.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

143 responses to “The Role of Genes in the Obesity Epidemic

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  1. I like the way Dr Michael Klaper describes the cause of obesity and other chronic diseases. He disagrees with what the medical books state: “Etiology Unknown”!

    Watch the 2 minute segment of the below video from the 8 minute mark to the 10 minute mark. Actually, the whole 20 minute TEDx video is worth watching.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TokqrtFfi8

  2. Although I agree with the “genes may load the bullet, environment pulls the trigger” punchline (George Bray?), there is evidence that suggests genes do play a bigger role than suggested in the video.

    Have you seen Harvard Medical School’s work with a polygenic predictor of obesity. Using computer algorithms and large datasets to test for the presence of over two million common gene variants, they give individuals a genome-wide polygenic score (GPS) which predicts inherited susceptibility to obesity. In one study, a GPS was worked out for more than 300,000 individuals and it was found that the 10% of individuals with the highest GPS score weighed almost 29lb (13kg) more on average than those with the lowest GPS score.

    There was also an interested study published in 1990 by the University of Pennsylvania that looked at twins reared together compared to those reared apart. It found that genetic influences on body mass index are substantial, whereas childhood environment has little or no influence.

      1. Robert, this was not a dietary study, but rather genetic.

        To understand the genetic basis of obesity better, here we conduct a genome-wide association study and Metabochip meta-analysis of body
        mass index (BMI), a measure commonly used to define obesity and assess adiposity, in up to 339,224 individuals.

    1. Agreed, I have read this article (I have institutional access). It is very comprehensive and well validated in large, multi-ethnic cohorts.

      From the paper:
      Their (obese individuals) genetic susceptibility may instead result from the cumulative effects of numerous variants with individually modest effects—a ‘‘polygenic’’ model. This paradigm is similar to other complex diseases in which polygenic inheritance, involving many common genetic variants, accounts for the majority of inherited susceptibility.

      Here we use recently developed computational algorithms and large datasets to derive, validate, and test a robust polygenic predictor of BMI and obesity. This genome-wide polygenic score (GPS) integrates all available common variants into a single quantitative measure of inherited susceptibility. It identifies a subset of the adult population that is at substantial risk of severe obesity—in some cases equivalent to rare monogenic mutations—and others that enjoy considerable protection. The GPS is associated with only minimal differences in birthweight, but it predicts clear differences in weight during early childhood and profound differences in weight trajectory and risk of developing severe obesity in subsequent years.”

      If anyone wants to read the article that these researchers based their Genome wide polygenic risk score model on, you can for free here:
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4382211/

      Of course it is silly to use a single gene (in this case FTO) for predicting a complex, multifactorial condition like obesity.

      The 2015 Locke study found:
      Our meta-analysis of nearly 340,000 individuals identified 97 GWS loci associated with BMI, 56 of which are novel. These loci account for 2.7% of the variation in BMI, and suggest that as much as 21% of BMI variation can be accounted for by common genetic variation. Our analyses provide robust evidence to implicate particular genes and pathways affecting BMI, including synaptic plasticity and glutamate receptor activity—pathways that respond to changes in feeding and fasting, are regulated by key obesity-related molecules such as BDNF and MC4R, and impinge on key hypothalamic circuits.”

      While diet is profound and should always be the kingpin along with exercise in treatment of obesity and its related comorbidities, it helps to have compassion and deep understanding that indeed YES! many people (estimated 32 million Americans alone) are at genetically increased risk of obesity and need to work MUCH harder to avoid obesity, while others of us have an advantage at being slim without much effort. Living in a culture that promotes unhealthy behaviors, socioeconomic factors that make whole foods plant eating diets difficult (food desert anyone?), or access to outdoor areas safe for clean air and recreation are also very real barriers. Acknowledging this difference can be the first step at acceptance and action towards making better choices.

      1. Mims,

        I have not read the references you describe, but if genetics play a bigger role in obesity than attributed by the video, how then do we explain the recent epidemic of obesity? Maybe even pandemic. Because our genes have not changed in this relatively short time frame.

        Dr. Greger mentioned that diet could overcome the effects of at least one possible gene. Might that not be true for a polygenic pre-disposition toward obesity? And was that true in the past — we ate on average a better diet?

        And the folks I know who are overweight and even obese do not live in a food desert. They don’t suffer from any of the barriers you mention — except maybe unhealthy eating. How do we explain them?

        Actually, in my husband’s family, many are very overweight. And when I met him 12 years ago, he was also overweight; he lost weight by practicing portion control and making healthier choices (switching from processed and prepared foods that he ate as a widower to my vegetarian cooking). We then both lost more weight without meaning to when a few years ago we transitioned from vegetarian to eating whole plant foods (we dropped the dairy products and eggs); we are now both close to our HS weights. And his family for the most part, laughs at us. And teases him for being a “pretzel stick.”

        1. Genes have not changed, but more precisely, the distribution of mutations (single nucleotide polymorphisms, variable number tandem repeats, indertion/deletions variants) within populations is changing. Each time a sperm and egg unite we are shuffling the DNA. In the last 50 years, we have two more generations. Two more shufflings/new combinations of potential good or bad combinations along the polygenic chains that contribute to obesity: appetite control, hunger perception, satiety, insulin signaling, hormones, genes that control processing of carbs, fat, protein, melatonin recpetor function, circadian clock genes.

          With all the genetic shuffling between ethnicities (which is a good thing IMO!) mutations that were once infrequent in one population will begin to be more frequent. The likelihood of inheriting more genetically risky mutations and a higher genetic risk score for obesity (or asthma or any number of diseases) can change compared to your ancestors. Think of four different decks of cards (each deck visually different) and shuffle each set of 2 decks once. Cut in half and shuffle those 4 halves with the other half deck from the other original shuffle. A very very rough approximation of how mutations begin to gain penetrance in a population. Clearly you end up with 4 different decks in the end.

          And the environment has changed too as I pointed out: portion size, quality of food, access to obtain/ high quality, increase in sedentary behaviors, more blue screens at night to suppress melatonin, more endocrine disrupters in our environment, etc. SO even a small increase in genetic tendency is magnified by these other factos. It truly is multifactorial.

          But I think we need to admit it is genuinely harder for some people to maintain a BMI considered healthy when they genetic inherited a bad hand in terms of appetite control, insulin signaling, fat and/or carb metabolism, circadian rhythym, cortisol response, base metabolic rate, etc . Just like some people inherited a bad hand for cancer, autoimmune or cardiovascular susceptibility. Whole foods plant diet diets can go a very long way to heal people, but they are not 100% effective for all things. If someone is in that extreme of the highest risk category, the researches pointed out that alone can expain a 21% variance in weight. For a 150 pound person that is another 30 extra pounds.

          While many of those genetically susceptible to being overweight can likely be free from (or at least mitigate) the most serious consequences of obesity by following a WFPB diet, they just will never get the same results with the same effort (being a size 6 and never worrying about their BP, Chol, fasting glucose) as compared to someone who inherited a less risky genetic risk score.

          1. Mims, thanks for your contribution here.

            To add to Dr J’s question: how then do we explain the recent epidemic of obesity?

            George Bray sees it as “failure of our ancient genes to cope with a modern toxic environment”. A huge part of that modern toxic environment is our diet, a diet self-evidently linked to weight gain and obesity.

            Those gene variants that promote overweight and obesity only come into their own in an obesogenic environment.

            And although we all now live in such an environment, we can still make choices – diet, exercise, etc – to mitigate that environment’s impact on our health. This explains why not everyone with a high GPS score is obese.

            1. So in the end.it is the obesogenic environment that determines obesity, genes or no genes?

              That sounds probably right. McDougall is fond of telling of his time as a plantation doctor in Hawaii. First generation immigrants from Korea, Japan, Philippines etc were all slim and healthy he observed. But second and third generation members of the same populations were fatter and sicker. Same genes but greatly different rates of overweight and obesity

              Polynesians now experience very high rates of obesity and Tonga is reputedly the fattest country in the world. As far as I am aware, obesity was virtually unknown there 100 years ago. Same genes different diet.

              Genes may make a big difference if we are all eating more or less the same Western diet, as in twin studies. But would they make any difference if we were all eating the traditional Okinawan or Japanese diets as described in Table 1 here?
              https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5859391_Caloric_Restriction_the_Traditional_Okinawan_Diet_and_Healthy_Aging_The_Diet_of_the_World's_Longest-Lived_People_and_Its_Potential_Impact_on_Morbidity_and_Life_SpanWe can’t change our genes but we can change our diet.

              1. I believe that in most cases, it’s an individual’s response to the obesogenic environment that determines obesity, genes or no genes.

                Choice allows us to create our own environment within that obesogenic environment.

                The worse choices you make with regards to diet, exercise, sleep, etc., the greater your chances of being obese.

                I appreciate some have more choices than others so that adds yet another layer of complexity (I’m thinking of children here in particular, and most obese adults were obese as children).

                That doesn’t mean genes don’t add fuel to that fire. You are at a distinct disadvantage if you have gene variants that promote obesity and you then make poor choices.

          2. Hi Mim. Are you, or anyone else here, aware of any studies indicating possibilities of HRT and Birth- Control Pill being an important factor in weight gain?

            From my own experience I have seen young women placed on birth-control pill, as well as the middle-aged women when placed on HRT, gain significant amount of weight within montes – not obese but definitely overweight.

            I know the HRT and the pill would not explain child obesity and the obesity of men. Who knows, maybe we all are, to some extent, exposed to these hormones that may end up in our drinking water.

  3. You’re ignoring inherited propensity for food addiction. Some of us are genetically wired to respond more to food cues, which in nature aren’t as ubiquitous as in our culture. I was obese until age 58, when I found Bright Line Eating and came to understand my addiction. I’m one of many now living at goal weight (over 4 years, down 80+ pounds) after finally getting control of my broken brain. It’s not just in the fork, and though I am a fan of your nutrition science, you often miss the mark with sone of your obesity “knowledge”. Get together with Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson and learn and overcome your thin privilege.

    1. Julia, that’s awesome that you’ve been so successful in maintaining your goal weight! But as for your comment “some of us are genetically wired to respond more to food cues” where is the evidence to this?

      1. I read Bright Line Eating and was disturbed by the amount of appropriating of 12 step concepts and lack of actual research.

        It felt like marketing a revamped 12 step program for her personal gain.

        1. The author, Susan Peirce Thompson, readily admits that much of Bright Line Eating comes from 12 step programs… in addition to her Ph.D. in brain sciences (addiction). I for one would not have come to this program via a 12 step program… so I am very grateful she decided to make it her own and make it a business. I’ve also never seen so many obese people reach goal weight and maintain it as I have in this program. The lack of research is because 12 step programs aren’t easily researched, whereas Bright Line Eating now has gathered data and is beginning to publish. For some of us, “moderation” isn’t going to work. We need complete abstinence from all sugar and flour in order to get our food addiction under control. It’s not about willpower or self control or what our families taught us. It’s our brain chemistry. As an addict in recovery, I appreciate Dr. Greger’s nutrition advice, but he often makes assumptions about how fat people eat and why that show an ignorance of our experience.

          1. Dr. Greger isn’t reciting all the colors in the rainbow of overeating, he’s just presenting the evidence at hand. I’m not sure what you’re trying to say by “brain chemistry,” whether you mean how you were just genetically wired or if you’re referring to the false reward signals in the brain. As far as false reward signals and things of that nature, I believe that is totally legit and well known. But as far as genetically being wired that way, unless you can provide actually evidence, that’s just a statement.

            “some of us, ‘moderation’ isn’t going to work”

            I would counter that in saying “some of us, ‘moderation’ is going to work” because I don’t think moderation is a natural or satisfying way to live and eat and I see people trying to control weight or lose weight through moderation being the one’s to yoyo because moderation sucks. I would argue that it isn’t in our evolution to have portion control and rather in our evolution to eat until we’re full. When we’re eating a diet that is natural to us, we don’t need to worry about moderation which “How Not To Diet” helps explain why–whole plant foods act so differently in the body than animal products and processed foods. So moderation, in my opinion, is a doable and useful too in regards to more processed things such as evoo or a non-whole plant food sweetener, salt, etc. But that’s easy to accomplish when the bulk of your diet is whole plant foods and all you might have to do is reprogram your tastebuds previously overwhelmed by salt or sugar.

    2. Some of us were taught as children by our families to respond to food cues in unhealthy ways. No genetics involved as much as learned habits that follow a person into adulthood.

  4. Nice to see an actual doctor say what I’ve been saying for over 40 years. What I’ve also said is that all you have to do to disprove the fat gene is to look at old photographs of crowds. Fat people were rare before the 50s. People who are just considered overweight today were freaks in circuses as late as the 60s. Processed food – dairy and grain + sugar has packed on the pounds.

    The other cause of excess weight Dr. Greger didn’t mention is that most overweight people lie to themselves, others and to me in particular when I’m talking to them about health issues. What people say they do and what they actually do is nearly always completely different if they’re overweight.

    The reason is food addictions. We love our junk foods. The reason why I spent 40+ years doing the research was because for most of those years I lied to myself as needed. Doing so made me an expert on self-delusion. When you decide to quit tea or coffee for instance, to avoid caffeine, the fall back position is chocolate, or colas. So then you start to realize you need to limit sugar. Before you know it, you’re eating lots of bananas and other fruit. But eventually, you’ve forgotten why you stopped eating toast, butter and marmalade and two slices becomes half a loaf. It can take years for circular eating and illnesses before you finally master the process.

    One thing for sure though, Covid-19 is going provide an incentive for people to get serious.

    Eating grain and dairy causes build-ups of mucus in many people. Viruses love mucus. It turns us into human fly traps. Only it isn’t flies we’re catching, it’s going to be Covid-19. Some of you people will bug me to cite sources for that. Don’t bother. Do your own research. Chow down on cheese and cereal, bread, pastries, bagels, bacon and eggs and see how long you last. I dare you. It won’t matter whether it’s whole grain, pasteurized or whatever. If it has gluten (glue) casein (more glue) and of course let’s not forget sticky, white rice, the hidden-in-plain-sight scourge of the Orient.

    So those of you who have doubted me before about the benefits and hazards of grain, be my guests. Go ahead, eat that glue, enjoy the thickened mucosal glue trap you turn yourself into.

    Not everyone suffers this fate though. Not everyone who consumes dairy products and grain products is intolerant. Those people are the ones who have made identifying the threat processed foods represent. The thing is, no test to see how much anyone’s mucus becomes after consuming processed foods has ever been done. That omission is part of the corruption Dr. Greger spoke of in a previous video.

        1. Wonderfully. And I’ve been scarfing down whole-grains all my (long) life.

          I’m also thought to be on the skinny side.

          1. There are always number of people who have higher and lower tolerances.

            Just because you show no symptoms though doesn’t mean much. Lots of blockage don’t show up until a trigger sets them off.

          2. Being skinny is not a guarantee of good health; sometimes it’s just one less thing to worry about. I’m skinny too and take no meds. But I know where my areas of concern are. You may be oblivious. Or completely healthy.

    1. John,

      Whole grains are healthy but better to eat them intact. Whole intact grains are one of the healthiest foods we could and should eat. They should be a staple for an optimal diet. They do not produce excess mucus and they are not glue, on the contrary, they help really “move things along.”

      “Fat people?” What are you 8 years old with bad parents who never taught you how to speak nicely? Overweight is the term and while you’re extremely judgmental, there are a number of reasons people are overweight, more than you could name. Also you should seriously look at some of the people in old movies and photographs way back in the day.

      They lie? “They” as in a collective? That’s like “fat people” racist or something lol. You sound awful. And how would you be able to prove that they lie? Your own judgment?

      That was all rhetorical but you can answer if you want.

    2. John

      Your frankly bizarre beliefs about grains appear to be unique to you. Even the anti-grain ideology of the Paleo Diet crowd appears to be based on a different set of assumptions. They believe (falsely) that grains weren’t eaten in the Paleolithic and therefore humans can’t be adapted to eating them.

      A few days ago, I posted a link to a newsletter article from Dr McDougall which he had just recirculated (the article was originally published in 2008) which I thought you might be interested again.. You probably missed it though. Here it is again
      https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2008nl/jan/grains.htm

      Incidentally, I thought that among other things mucus serves as a trap and barrier to viruses and bacteria preventing them from getting into blood stream and circulating throuighout the body.

      1. Mucus is not the barrier Tom, it is the carrier.

        You would not know that though because you have never experienced NATURAL mucus which runs almost like tap water.

        1. John, you’re an even better doctor than Dr. Greger in that you are able to diagnose people so confidentially over the internet without knowing anything about them. I’ve never heard of such genius.

          1. If that surprises you, you’d be amazed say how many times people tell me I’m right. If I wasn’t I’d have stopped decades ago. Do you think this recent? It isn’t.

            There have been times people have said I’m wrong, but on further questioning, it turns out I was right after all.

            It’s such a normal thing for me, I’ve long since stopped thinking there was anything unusual about it if I ever did.

            Mostly, I do it on Quora several times a day if I have time and energy and the question interests me enough. The problem there is that quora does not like me exposing the harm done by processed foods. Especially dairy, grain, sugar, caffeine, juices and so on.

            They especially don’t like me describing medical quackery either.

            In such cases, they try and shut down my answers before the person who posed the question gets to read the answer. Since my answers are so specific to the person who asked, generally, that person is the only person who sees the response before it’s collapsed.

            Sometimes I protest the collapse and win. In such cases I unload on them for their alignment with corruption whether it be medical, science, industrial, political, all of those or some of those. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn’t. But at the anniversary of my joining they always thank me for my contribution and give me a summary of my activities.

            If I wasn’t right, as I’ve said, I’d have stopped long ago because the abuse would be overwhelming. I do it because the people who really need the information are desperate, having exhausted normal channels. We’re talking globally here, not just North America.

            Of course there are challenges now and then from people who aren’t suffering the consequences of whatever the issue is and some of them can give me a bit of a rough time. But so far no one has ever proven me wrong.

            There have been times though when quora and other sites have copped off the thread due to length and that can make it look like I conceded. I’ve never found a way around that because site owners an moderators can often shape a conversation to support the person they prefer to have the last word.

            So if you see a post where I didn’t have the last word, you know something happened to prevent it

            Occasionally, I’m completely wrong about something because I misread the question or there were other factors not mentioned tat should have been mentioned. In those cases I apologize without hesitation. There is no point in winning a debate just to win a debate. The information has to be correct.

            There are other times when there are people who are worshippers of those sacred cows I slaughter regularly and no amount of explanation suits them. Those people just have to stew in their own juice.

            The thing is, my information often crosses many disciplines. It comes as a huge surprise that I can know more about certain disciplines than the people at the top of those disciplines. What people don’t stop to consider is that my studies, thinking and research have been going on much longer than their entire careers.

            Anyone can become an expert in a given field or several fields at once if they have the time, the interest and the ability to invest in their chosen interests.

            In my case, I’ve become an expert in several fields from which I earned my living. The first was in design. If there is one thing you learn as a designer, it’s how to use your creativity to solve problems your client thinks are impossible. People pay a lot of money for impossible.

            Genius is showing that the impossible was in fact easy all along. If it wasn’t space travel would still be a dream.

            Space travel is a collaborative initiate shared be teams of people who do jobs they find are easy. What wasn’t easy was the initial thinking that made each victory possible.

            The people who don’t get me don’t get that.

          2. I’m not a doctor. But contrary to popular opinion, anyone can learn. You don’t have to be a doctor to know things,

  5. We are all genetically programmed to overeat, because under-eating is incompatible with survival. The food supply determines what we can eat or not. 100 years ago, the food supply was completely different and not so freely available as today. Thus, the food supply served as an external-control mechanism for what we could eat or not. The obesity epidemic did not exist then.
    However, these days we control the food supply. There is no external-control and therefore we have to internally-control our own food intake, which we are not designed for in the 1st place due to survival reasons. Therefore, the genetically obese susceptible part of the population become obese. This is the cause of the obesity epidemic.

    Genetics indeed loads the gun and the environment pulls the trigger.
    (‘Obesity is 50% genetics and 50% hereditary’).

    Governments can easily stamp out this epidemic, by legislating against the food supply, but it won’t happen with politicians who want to be electable for as long as possible. So, we have to wait for the next famine, financial collapse, or some other intervention, etc.

    To quote from the Doctors note above: “Of course it’s not our genes! Our genes didn’t suddenly change 40 years ago”. Of course, it’s true – but what has relatively suddenly changed was our FOOD SUPPLY.

      1. What cannot be denied is that the obesity epidemic did not exist 100 years ago. Now we have one, and a massive one indeed.
        Queen Vitoria was obese a 100 years ago, but she had unlimited food at her disposal.
        What has changed?
        The only consistent thing is the food supply.
        To deny this is scientifically dishonest, ignorant or driven by some other agenda.

        1. Using Queen Victoria as evidence of an obesity epidemic over 100 years ago is foolish. Most people had no access to the foods we eat today. She did. People commonly starved to death in the streets and still do in some places. You seem to have no idea of what life was like back then or even as recently as the 50s. You’re too young to know first hand.

          My mother went to work in 1952 after my brother was born. In those days, women stayed home to look after their children. The difference between her staying home and looking after us and going to work and paying for baby sitting was 19 cents a week. We were not unusual. You did what you had to do to survive. Few people could buy more food than just enough to keep them going. I did not even see a fat person until I was 5 years old. She was my kindergarten teacher. I didn’t see another fat person until I was 14. I lived in Toronto which at that time was home to 2 million people. Fat people were freaks of nature in those days.

        2. Rensburg,

          “The only consistent thing is the food supply.”

          What are you talking about? SO much has changed… omg, let me count the ways… no wait, I don’t have the time. But here’s a few things: increase in consumption of meat, dairy and eggs, REFINED foods, food additives including natural ones like everything being sweetened with sugar, environmental changes due to the industrial era, a higher stress lifestyle, a lazier and more convent lifestyle, etc.. I could go on and on.

          To think of one idea and because you can make some sense of it and so then assume it is the reason, is unscientific.

          1. Dear Shalyen

            Unfortunately, you took my sentence; “The only consistent thing is the food supply.” out of context. You only focused on this one sentence in your reply. You assume I meant the food supply has never changed.

            If you read my whole point, you will notice “The only consistent thing is the food supply.” The food supply is the only thing that has dramatically changed, interacting with our genes (the latter which has not changed), producing the obesity epidemic. The operative word is the food supply; “consistent” meaning the factor that has mainly caused the obesity epidemic is the food supply (which has changed) interacting with susceptible genes.

            100 years ago: Food supply interacting with our genes. Result: no obesity epidemic.

            100 years later: Food supply (changed) interacting with our genes (same). Result: massive obesity epidemic.

            Thus “The only consistent thing is the food supply.” That (the food supply) is the main cause for the obesity epidemic.

          2. Dear Shalyen

            Unfortunately, you took my sentence; “The only consistent thing is the food supply.” out of context. You only focused on this one sentence in your reply. You assume I meant the food supply has never changed.

            If you read my whole point, you will notice  “The only consistent thing is the food supply.” The food supply is the only thing that has dramatically changed, interacting with our genes (the latter which has not changed), producing the obesity epidemic. The operative word is the food supply; “consistent” meaning the factor that has mainly caused the obesity epidemic is the food supply (which has changed) interacting with susceptible genes.

            100 years ago: Food supply interacting with our genes. Result: no obesity epidemic.

            100 years later: Food supply (changed) interacting with our genes (same). Result: massive obesity epidemic.

            Thus “The only consistent thing is the food supply.” That (the food supply) is the main cause for the obesity epidemic.

    1. People program themselves to think that feeling full is the end of a meal. Many people practice eating until only 80% full, not until stuffed and can not eat another bite. I even see WFPB people do that to themselves then wonder why they are not losing weight.

    2. I seem to be genetically programmed to overeat dried mango…

      Seriously though, I hate overeating. I have absolutely no desire to keep eating past being full and if I’m full, no matter what I’m eating no longer tastes good. It doesn’t taste horrible, it just is no longer enjoyable. So that certainly hasn’t been my experience. The real issue I think is all the addictive crap and processed junk. I used to easily overeat junk. Remember how even when you were full, you could still enjoy that extra slice of pizza or breadstick or two or three? My theory is, apart from addictive components to junk foods or even simply animal products (which are junk food, really), is that for one thing, they’re so nutritionally inadequate that you can consume too many calories yet your body can still be starved for nutrition. And that all that refined crap and unnatural things we are not supposed to be putting in our bodies, just screw up the whole system including signals of fullness to the brain and more thing than I could even name. That is my personal belief on the matter and seems to have been my experience with eating a SAD and switching to a WFPB vegan diet.

  6. Pardon my ignorance, but maybe there is another important component: metabolism or the intestine ability to absorb nutrients. My father was 6ft1in and he never went over 152lb. He ate a healthy diet but by no means like you. He ate cheese, meats and white pasta. Actually, as he grew older, his weight dropped and he had to compensate by eating lots of fruit and carbos. My mom who ate even a healthier diet was 5ft and weighted 127lb. Clearly, it was not the diet. Dad had a superb metabolism or his intestines just passed on carbohydrates. Until I reached menopause, I could eat all the pasta and sweets in the world and never go over 112lb for my 5ft5in. During my childhood and teen years, I would lose 3 lb just at the thought of final exams. After menopause, I have had to be more careful to maintain my weight at 113lb. if I go on vacation, I put on 5lb easily. There is more to weight gain than diet.

      1. John,

        Dr. Greger has already had topics such as how circadian rhythms, whether people eat breakfast, and whether they sleep at night, and calorie density of the foods they eat, plus how many free fatty acids causing the brain to not see the leptin.

        Simple damage to the hypothalamus of the brain does cause obesity.

        Carolina,

        I have skinny Minnie McDonald’s and ice cream and meat-eating 90-year olds.

        I also have a friend who just lost 92 pounds basically eating bacon, collagen and keto cupcakes and things with coconut flour.

        She has lost more weight than I have by far, but I would be throwing up every day and would just eat the cupcakes if I had to do that diet.

  7. Genes does not explain only <3% of the varianc". These are estimations based on GWAS studies, which are really a lower bound (since it depends on huge sample sizes to be able to detect statistically significant genes). The best estimation we have are based on twin studies. And in these, the heritability is between 40% ~ 90%. It should be noted that this doesn't mean that there isn't anything to be done environmentally, but it does mean that, in today's society, most of the differences between individuals BMI is accounted by genes.

    1. How does this explain the differences in average BMI between say the US and Canada or France?

      Or the differences between African Americans’ BMIs and the BMIs of Africans living in Africa?

      Also why is obesity so much higher now than 50 years ago.if it’s mainly genetic?

      It seems to me too that twin studies can’t adequately account for cultural and dietary similarities between all people living in a given society, which may produce misleading estimates.

  8. Is Dr. Greger going to go back to the old style with just the science and voiceover? It’s such a huge distraction when he’s on screen and harder to focus. I also miss all the presented science which doesn’t seem to be on the screen as long and is now there for more like a background thing instead of the focal point. I really with the feedback would be responded to because the old style was more educational in that it was easier to engage and absorb. I hate having to work at controlling my attention from the hand gestures to the information being presented and this results in multitasking which results in absorbing the info as much or as quickly or as easily (one, two, or all of the above). Also, multitasking is stressful and has been shown to be less healthy for our cells as presented in the book “The Telomere Effect” by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel.

    It’s nothing against Greger, I love watching him in interviews, but it doesn’t work well for these videos for the purpose of the videos.

    1. S,

      It is going to take a while. He will still be presenting the information that was videotaped for the Webinars and those are this style.

      Mentally, I am going through the various webinars and there are still several of those that haven’t shown up here yet and they will.

      I do trust that he is taking the feedback that he asked for and that he will respond.

      Still, the opening image of Dr. Greger looking up at the coin is an instant favorite.

      1. Deb,

        In his last Q&A he referenced making a new video about the pandemic or something relating to it (I don’t remember completely) and talked about how it would be hard to get a camera crew together right now, so that he would get it up in the old voice-over-only style most likely. That to me implied that he’s been continuing and plans on continuing putting up the new style with him physically in the videos. I have to say that given all the feedback, it annoyed me a little that it seems disregarded.

        1. I quite enjoy this lecture style approach. So do other people.

          Perhaps NF have done more scientific testing of viewer responses to various video styles and have found that the front man style is most effective. I have absolutely no idea. It certainly seems the preferred mode for evangelists, preachers and infomercials. And internet health gurus for that matter. It appears to work for them

          Just because a bunch of people here don’t like it, doesn’t necessarily mean that a majority of actual and potential viewers feels the same way.

          It’s a sad fact that many people – perhaps those who need this information the most – are bored by dry voice-overs. Look at TV. What draws most viewers? Information-packed PBS style documentaries or hosted programmes on more popular networks.

          To be honest, I too prefer the older style approach but I still find the current one quite enjoyable. However, the important question really isn’t what I like best but what the is the approach that works best in getting the information out to as many people as possible..

  9. Rodrigo,

    Dr. Greger pointed out that (in the twin studies in a few countries) there was a 40% decrease in the genetic influence when the twins were physically active.

    He mainly was pointing out that FTO only appears to affect those eating diets higher in saturated fat (predominantly found in meat, dairy, and junk food). Those eating healthier appear to be at no greater risk of weight gain––even if they inherited the “fat gene” from both their parents.

  10. I saw this video and finally watched it and it was interesting.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftZy5s-klUA

    This is what I have been using and it is the most comfortable, amazing mask I have ever tried.

    Nope, I am not a medical person, but still, since laypeople can’t buy N95 anyway, I will tell you that they describe the N95 as uncomfortable and the N100 is so amazingly comfortable. The leather seals tightly around your face perfectly and I usually get claustrophobic in masks, but the N100, the material is far enough away from your lips that it was almost like not wearing anything. It was cool where they describe the N95 as sweaty. It was specifically designed for people who work in hot environments like shops and it was designed to not inhale particulate matter like asbestos and they say it has at least 99.97 percent filtration efficiency.

    Anyway, I still have one packaged one next to me that I am saving for workers, but I give it two thumbs and every finger up.

    I guess if neither the surgical masks or the N95 protected the doctors in the study, what I will say is that the N100 will protect other people from you and is the most amazing mask I have ever experienced.

  11. It seems those who choose to have little self control over their own eating habits want to blame genetics. Those that have better self control and a sense of personal responsibility for their own daily health decisions feel otherwise.

    1. There’s sometimes no choice involved. Sigh. Someday, mainstream society will understand food addiction. Until then, we put up with these kinds of comments. I say this as someone who has now gone almost 5 years with no flour or sugar, which is what I needed to do in order to have ANY free will in my food consumption. Now that I know I can’t do moderation, I’m in control (mostly).

    2. This is not true. I was always thin, active vegetarian 5’8” 118 -120 lbs. We moved into a house that had mold unbeknownst to us for 2 years. I gained over 50 lbs with zero change in eating or activity levels. The only thing we can figure is something to do with inflammation and leptin. Still trying to figure it out.

      1. M,

        I had been exposed to mold a few years back, too, and also had a weight gain around the same time, though it also correlated with being more sedentary with caretaking and with being postmenopausal.

        I saw this type of information and I wonder if your sleep cycle also changed?

        https://www.survivingmold.com/diagnosis/the-biotoxin-pathway

        https://sponauglewellness.com/mold-toxins-and-chemicals-article/

        Either way, the mold affects things like melatonin, thyroid, hypothalamus, etc. and all of those are related to obesity.

        It is hard to tease out.

        I know that my diet was not good back then, so that is what I have worked so hard on changing, but I haven’t had the type of success that people who go WFPB talk about and I am always looking up other topics.

        My sleep is still better when I remember to take my Vitamin D which doesn’t happen every day but I took a high original dose and it has improved things so dramatically that I am beyond happy.

        I wonder if in your new house you are in bright morning light and dark middle of the night or opposite.

        I am in opposite and a dark mask is the only way I get the dark enough to have a chance at the benefits Dr. Greger pointed out from the too dark to see across the room helps with weight loss studies.

        It takes extreme effort to implement everything.

        Dark in the middle of the night.
        Bright for an hour in the early morning.
        No blue screen from technology at night.
        Vitamin D in the morning
        No food at night.
        Breakfast in the morning.

        It all sounds so simple, but when you are like me and didn’t go to sleep until 4:30 in the morning for a decade, all of that becomes so hard to figure out.

    1. Thanks for posting that Barb, it is pretty interesting.

      I have been more researching COVID things and just had some good news for people who are struggling with finding supplies.

      Clorox, 3M, and Procter & Gamble will be fulfilling 75 percent of their orders in the next week.” He estimates that store shelves and Amazon should be restocked with cleaning products within the first two weeks of April.

      You may still have a hard time finding hand sanitizer, however. Purell announced March 24 that shipments of hand sanitizer will be prioritized to workers deemed critical by the federal government, including healthcare workers, first responders, and grocers.

      And toilet paper and paper towels will continue to be scarce. (They are still only meeting 25% of their orders)

      1. Thanks for the products report Deb – that is encouraging. I heard someone say today that Walmart was moving to pick up orders only here. This plan will not go over well imo. I don’t know of anyone personally who will shop that way. Another store nearby tried to get people to
        shop online before all this happened. I won’t shop there again. It’s just as dangerous having staff handle your food, load it in a cart, run through the cash with it etc. as when we do it ourselves.

  12. There’s nothing like a skinny guy telling us fatsos it’s all our fault. Greger said, “Physiologically, FTO gene status does not appear to affect your ability to lose weight.” Yet in his “How Not to Diet” book, he repeats over and over again that – in already obese patients – it is their “set-point” that destines their future weight, not diet or exercise.

    Yeah, a lifetime of bean-eating may (probably does) prevent obesity and gobs of other nasty stuff. But for the repentant Tubby, it seems that for the most part, “the die[t] is cast and only surgical intervention – not behaviors – can cause a lasting and significant reduction in weight.

    So, how about a bit less “fat-shaming”, Doc???

  13. MedCram talked about Natural Killer cells and COVID again today

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fya6Zwxch88&t=316s

    Broccoli Sprouts / Sulforaphane is one of the ones we have learned about on this site.

    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-broccoli-receptor-our-first-line-of-defense-2/

    There is also a Kale and immune system video

    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/kale-and-the-immune-system/

    Broccoli Sprouts May Increase Activity of Natural Killer Cells in Response to Influenza Exposure (Yes the study was the flu, but the observation of doctors on the front lines is that people who get bad with COVID-19 tend to have low Natural Killer Cells and lower innate immunity and kids do better because they tend to have higher innate immunity.)

    http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbclip/542/031661-542.html?ts=1586211917&signature=2317598d224ace67e8c8825e13bb9fff

    Also, this one with the Artificial Intelligence was able to predict which patients would have problems with 80% accuracy using the following factors:

    Instead, the new AI tool found that changes in three features — levels of the liver enzyme alanine aminotransferase (ALT), reported myalgia, and hemoglobin levels — were most accurately predictive of subsequent, severe disease. Together with other factors, the team reported being able to predict risk of ARDS with up to 80 percent accuracy.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200330152135.htm

  14. Medcram read the article where they talked about “supplementing Natural Killer cells” and that concept is interesting. They are talking the cells themselves, but there are a lot of PubMed articles of things that increase Natural Killer cells.

  15. I just watched the kale video again and the cooked kale worked even better at helping the immune system.

    Boy, I have been eating it raw.

    Of course, the study was using tiny amounts and I have been eating salads with kale, so maybe raw versus cooked doesn’t matter as much.

  16. Hi
    has there been any studies on propolis and royal jelly to effectively strengthen the immune system and fight viruses ?
    Cheers

  17. I just found out through a video that the N100 filters smaller particles than the N95.

    I also just saw that Amazon has an N99 filtering mask in stock.

    https://www.amazon.com/RZ-Mask-M2-Black-X-Large/dp/B00XLX4LP8/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ref_=ast_bbp_dp&th=1&psc=1&linkCode=sl1&tag=bizarreabyss-20&linkId=711a2a9d586cad71657cd6b9a86b9b42&language=en_US

    I had a better mask than the doctors are waiting for? I can’t figure out if that is true.

    The fact that the N95 mask study didn’t protect doctors against the flu, I am confused by the whole concept.

    1. YR,

      A friend told me that she wore a scarf to the store the other day — but she took it off because it was too hot!

      I just made a mask, hand-stitched, from scraps I found by scrounging around the house. But I can’t imagine that it will do much good. But I plan to tweak the pattern, and make a few more over the next several days. (Too bad I couldn’t get my old treadle sewing machine up and running; that’s what happens when I haven’t used it or maintained it for over 30 years…)

      In any event, the masks are to protect other people from a mask wearer who may be infectious; they don’t protect the mask wearer from other people who may be infectious, or not much.

      1. Dr J

        Many materials are only 10% effective at protecting us.

        The paper surgical masks are 65% effective at filtering out particles.

        Double layer quilted fabric can be 75% if it is a tight weave.

        1. It can be spread just by talking without sneezing is what the US doctors have said.

          We also say that 50% of the cases people can be asymptomatic which makes it dangerous.

        2. There is a medical person who found a mask pattern that sealed her masks more like N95’s.

          She put elastic on every side and put the double straps that go over the head rather than ear straps.

          So all the sides we’re more like a shower cap.

          She is a medical person and said the ear loops just did not seal well enough and having big gaps.

          In the flu study the N95’s weren’t effective either.

          But the N-100’s have an amazing face sealing design.

          It is like a piece of vinyl with a puffed out mask glued onto it.

          It is hard to explain but it is the face seal that us so comfortable.

          They have a 360 degree image of it.

          1. Yeah, thanks, Lonie.

            Doctors got the flu with either mask.

            I wonder if it was the size of the particle being small enough to fly through the N95 or whether they weren’t fitted properly or they aren’t washing their hands well enough.

            I wonder if the gloves could be dipped in bleach before they took off the masks or something.

            1. I’m wondering if the masks perhaps don’t fully protect, but at least reduce the viral load? If the body only gets a small amount of the virus, does it have an opportunity to make antibodies against it?

              Whereas, if exposed to a large amount of the virus, perhaps the body doesn’t have time to marshall its defenses against the attack and the case becomes more severe.

      2. “A friend told me that she wore a scarf to the store the other day — but she took it off because it was too hot!”
        – – – – –

        Dr. J., I wore the regular mask you see all over the place, and I had drawn a little female version of Alfred E. Neuman on it. Buck-teeth ‘n all. Gave it red hair. Kinda cute. Anyway, I couldn’t breathe in that damn thing either.

        I complimented some of the others in the supermarket…admired their scarves, etc. One gal said she fashioned hers out of cloth material and shoe laces. :-) We all looked like creatures from another planet. %^

    1. YR, Is this going to be a case where the “cure” is going to be be worse than the disease? It would be hard to get statistics, but it may turn out that more people die from all the economic disruptions and other unintended consequences than the disease itself! That usually happens when the government gets involved in anything ;-)

      1. Certainly where I live, it is ‘no work no pay’. Consequently, not only can many people no longer afford to buy medicines for eg diabetes, hypertension etc, they no longer have money to buy food and water, let alone pay the rent or electricity bills.

        There are also other effects. When my wife went to a local hospital complex to consult her doctor, she was told that the hospital was turning away heart attack patients because all beds were full of people with respiratory conditions. And that there seemed to be more heart attack cases than usual perhaps because (wealthier) people were eating and boozing more than usual because of the lockdown. How true all that is I don’t know but her doctor and others were no longer seeing patients. Everybody now has to go to the hospital’s accident and emergency unit for triaging.

        So yes, I expect that there will be deaths and serious adverse health events that would not have occurred if the present emergency measures had not been implemented.

        1. Mr. Fumblefingers,

          An article in NYT recently noted just the opposite: that heart attack patients have actually decreased in hospitals in this country, at least anecdotally:

          “We are all asking: Where are all the patients with heart attacks and stroke? They are missing from our hospitals.

          Yale New Haven Hospital, where I work, has almost 300 people stricken with Covid-19, and the numbers keep rising — and yet we are not yet at capacity because of a marked decline in our usual types of patients. In more normal times, we never have so many empty beds.”
          https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/06/well/live/coronavirus-doctors-hospitals-emergency-care-heart-attack-stroke.html

  18. Pray for the business owners because it is so hard for grocery store owners and even Amazon to know they will have workers die.

    I only have to make the decision about a few people and we separated the shifts and days of week and times people work.

    Grocery store workers are dying.

    But the world needs their services.

  19. The masks do not even make the doctors safe and by that, I mean even the N95 doesn’t make them safe.

    There are N99 masks for sale got people on Amazon right now but you need the right size.

    Etsy has the triple layered quilted masks.
    .
    There are lots of different types with multi-layer carbon filters.

    Nano technology masks.

    The paper surgical masks are only 65% effective, but you might be able to double them up.

    Those are still available on Amazon.

    3M says they will be 75% to production and so will Clorox.

    Three people in my area got it from grocery store delivery services.

    Assume it is on every product and if you can’t disinfect them, don’t touch the boxes and bags for at least 24 hours.

    If possible.

    That is what I like about food delivery.

    They package it so it could last four days.

    1. Lonie, as one non-scientific person to another, lol, yes I found it interesting. But look here https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirolimus Says its an immunopsuppressant used on stents and kidney transplants etc. and inhibits activation of T cells (I thought t cells are good?) by inhibiting m-TOR.
      I thought those of us eating wfpb already inhibited m-TOR by not eating meat, eggs or poultry? Not sure what the upshot is…

      1. Barb, I wonder if this is significant?

        “It has immunosuppressant functions in humans and is especially useful in preventing the rejection of kidney transplants. It inhibits activation of T cells and B cells by reducing their sensitivity to interleukin-2 (IL-2) through mTOR inhibition.[7]”

        That is, since the elderly seem to be more susceptible for a cytokine storm in the lungs, maybe blocking the immune response is a good thing?

        But this does seem in contrast with a statement in the link I provided that said “The scientist analyzed the prior clinical studies of everolimus (RAD001) in healthy elderly, and previous evidence showing paradoxical immunopotentiation effects of rapamycin and proposed additional clinical trials for these molecules in the healthy elderly population.

        The statement “previous evidence showing paradoxical immunopotentiation effects of rapamycin”… seems to be diametrically opposed to the “It has immunosuppressant functions in humans” from your link.

        I’ve read of the thinking that rapamycin will be used in longevity regimens and I’m familiar with Insilico’s work in the field of longevity, so I’m going to trust their asking for a study of this as a treatment as a reason to continue my Ashwagandha regimen, at least through the Covid-19 crisis.

        They did say a low dose of rapamycin which may in some way account for the difference… and which I think my daily Ashwagandha pill should qualify as.

      1. Loni,

        There is a zoo that had a human being who tested positive passed it to a tiger, maybe more than one, but they only tested one.

        So, it can be passed from humans to animals.

        1. Yeah Barb, I’ve been reading about that. And something that the talking head didn’t mention about the story is that there are three people missing from that lab and are presumed dead. China swears not but their data has also disappeared.

          The story I read made a compelling case that this virus did escape from the lab. I wish I had saved it… it went much further into detail and by doing so had too many things revealed to just be coincidence.

  20. Dr Campbell was reading the statistics for the people who end up in critical care in London with COVID and 73% of the patients were males.

    The ages were more mixed.

    The male was startlingly skewed.

  21. Okay, Italy, hospitalized men with COVID-19 were 75 percent more likely to die than were hospitalized women.

    I found this theory. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-03/26/c_138917140.htm

    In response to some viruses, compared to male cells, female cells produce higher levels of proteins termed “interferons” that are a crucial part of the early innate immune response. Interferons trigger a cascade of proteins that are directly anti-viral and act to attenuate viral spread, according to Kovats.

    “Indeed, evidence shows that production of interferons is promoted by estrogens. During a respiratory virus infection, a greater capacity for interferon production may help to reduce viral spread and lung damage in females,” she said.

    1. This virus is a hateful thing but just like Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said back during the banking meltdown “never let a crisis go to waste” … or something similar.

      I think this Covid-19 is going to produce so much data that it will take a Quantum Computer to digest it all. I feel we are going to come out of this much stronger than we were going in. There are already a lot of different things going on to find a cure and/or prevention.

      This pestilence may cause more lives to be saved in future than it takes… due to what we learn from it.

      1. Why are some people so sure “it’s going to return in the fall”? Tucker Carlson interviewed a doc from Minnesota tonight claiming another “lockdown” might be necessary. Giving the worst-case scenario, or what?

        Kill me now. :-(

        1. Why are some people so sure “it’s going to return in the fall”?
          ———————————————————————————
          I’m not sure where that’s coming from unless they think it will act like other kinds of flu. I’ve been thinking along those lines myself as I try to figure out how to prepare for next winter.

          But if it does come back after some deadlier mutation, I think we’ll have a better handle on how to treat it.

          If that be the case, I doubt we’ll have a lockdown.

          1. I can’t see how it can be anything less than a couple of years. Let’s say the usa actually does a lockdown (without the golf and other non essential businesses left open) for the next 6 months..then as soon as borders plus airlines and businesses are opened up even minimally, reinfection starts again with visitors from other states or countries that were less advanced in the whole process.
            People seem to put great faith in a vaccine as well. Not sure why. The shingles vaccine was/is a dismal disappointment with low rates of protection. The 2-dose newer vaccine does a bit better and at a huge cost where I am at….and they have worked on that for some years now.

            1. Barb, by lockdown do you mean borders or shelter in place.

              I’ve just listened to interviews with Dr. Oz and one with Trump.

              The one with Oz gave very clear perspective that the malaria drug has been used for Lupus, arthritis, and malaria for decades. One of the more famous Drs that Oz has been in contact said he has never had a Lupus patient taking the drug have cause to be hospitalized in all the years he has been prescribing the drug.

              Oz also said that looking at insurance records and records of Lupus patients taking the drug, to date they haven’t found anyone taking the drug to have been diagnosed with Covid-19.

              In his interview, Trump said he had ordered ~ 30 million doses of the drug for the U.S. He also talked as if the country is going to be out of quarantine by May 1, with the possible exception of places that are hot spots at the time.

              I agree with you about vaccines. Besides, vaccines seldom offer much protection for older individuals as their immune system doesn’t respond well. IMO, treatment and preventative prophylactics will be the way we take control of this virus… and as Oz stated, there are many in the private and public sector working on that.

              This reminds me so much of what the country did during WWII when Ford went from making cars and started building bombers. Ford and many other companies have mobilized and are pivoting to making what we need right now.

              So far we are coming in way below the numbers that have been predicted in the way of deaths, so maybe we are becoming aware of best practices for handling this pandemic. It has been sort of an On Job Training for us since this is a completely new disease (probably starting in a lab in Wu Han China) and spreading throughout the world.

              Many world leaders and organizations (I’m looking at you, WHO!) have made mistakes. And even though he has been vilified from almost every corner, Trump has done a really good job, though he will likely not be credited for it because… he is Trump. ‘-)

              To his credit, Joe Biden who vilified Trump as Xenophobic for shutting down our borders, has done an about face and said that closing the borders was the right thing to do.

              And as far as the Dr. Fauci edict saying the malarial drug should not be used before doing a trial with it, even the FDA has come on board with the President and has left it to Drs to decide what treatments they offer to their patients.

              There is a great awakening in this country where common sense is not dismissed just for being out of the box.

              1. Clarification: I seem to remember there was one case of someone taking hydroxychloroquine coming down with Covid-19, but the doctor whose patient it was stated that the individual didn’t take the medicine as prescribed, but rather occasionally.

  22. Mailbox tip:
    –I’ve heard of at least one postal worker dying of the virus.
    –I wonder if the mail is treated with disinfectant? I will look into this.
    –I’ve started wearing gloves to get my mail.
    –I also spray the box and mail with bleach water.
    –And I let the mail set for a day before opening it.

      1. Dan,

        Thanks for posting.

        The only caution I would give is that we have had 3 local shut-ins with almost no human contact who only could have got it from delivery.

        Two from grocery store delivery.

        Also, I have talked to 2 Amazon delivery people who are young people who I happen to know and one has GI problems right now but the only symptom they test for is fever.

        They send people home if they have 100 degree fever but he has been delivering while sick and they don’t have masks or gloves.

        Plus, they were warned that their location would have to close down if anybody at all tested positive and the 2 young people don’t have even a slight understanding of COVID-19.

        They aren’t watching television or computer at all.

        They are working 10-hour days and just wouldn’t get tested because they don’t want to lose their job.

        Yes, this person showed up sick at my shop.

        I have my handy dandy UV lamps and steam cleaner and Clorix and Lysol and 80% alcohol hand sanitizer, but he came and would have interacted with my over 50-year-old workers who also are not following it and my college friends are also not following it.

        I am the only one and my friend who went to visit an elderly shut-in and my other friend who has 2 people with no immune system in her household both ”Haven’t been exposed” in their own minds.

        But then they say, ” I have a cold and chest pressure” and other symptoms.

        Today they told me they don’t want to talk about COVID when I shared where to get masks.

        Nope.

        None of them even are watching the news very often.

  23. Dan,

    Today, Dr. Campbell showed information and said that we have been saying 6 feet as a catchphrase but it goes further than that and stays in the air longer than they said and we have been saying it isn’t both aerosolization and droplets, but it seems to be both aerosolization and droplets.

    We have been saying young people don’t get it and now ICU’s have been filled with people under age 50.

    We heard that Boris Johnson was running his government and moments later he is in ICU and probably hasn’t been running the government for a week.

    I watched part of The Network Theory on PBS and got up to the clash of Catholic versus Protestant in Europe warring for 100 years and other than the killing of people, politics hasn’t changed much and this whole pandemic is, for better and for worse, being spun back and forth and that is by everybody.

    https://www.pbs.org/video/episode-1-disruption-wwmwuj/

    Partly, people have an inner need to keep their jobs and businesses and to have normal lives versus the fear of dying and some only have that level of fear and some young people don’t have the fear of dying because they heard it didn’t affect them and nobody wants them to have a fear of killing their grandparents because we start out wanting them to have that fear so they will stay away, then we look at their traumatized faces and change our mind and want them to not have the fear of killing their grandmother because we want them to be healthier mental-health-wise and we want them to have a normal sense of childhood, then we mentally flip and flop and want them to be afraid of killing their grandparents again.

    I saw it in my own mind.

    Do I want to have Amazon delivery? Or do I want it to close down? Do I lecture people for delivering sick and do I then want them to not close Amazon?

    My mind filtered through about 20 different things, such as the fact that I was talking to someone who was sick and only had a doubled-layer of surgical mask on. I did stand over 7 feet away, I think.

    But my main clumsy point was stated better by Bill Watterson.

    “Now what state do you live in?’
    ‘Denial.”
    ― Bill Watterson, The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury

  24. I also saw this where when they talk about the risk of re-infection, they say that some people who recovered had surprisingly low antibodies.

    https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3078840/coronavirus-low-antibody-levels-raise-questions-about

    And for something worth Tweeting about Twitter Jack Dorsey is giving a billion toward COVID-19 relief.

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/7/21212766/jack-dorsey-coronavirus-covid-19-donate-relief-fund-square-twitter

    1. I will add that I called out the vitamin D study coverage not focusing Almost entirely on the improvement for Black mortality as a type of medical racism.

      The Black community didn’t even hear that Vitamin D could help prevent cancer and with mortality where if those results affected the white community instead of the black community that would have been all they focused on.

      The black community is dying disproportionately but I am not seeing their Vitamin D study yet.

      1. They also probably don’t have cable and the internet or cars or produce but Vitamjn D was mentioned months ago and nobody is going to do a Vitamin D hand out to the black community.

  25. I did just take the time to read how the hospitals near me are handling COVID and one of the small hospitals has impressed me.

    They have been so creative that if I have to go to the hospital they might make my list.

    They are doing things like having most of the triage outside and most of the exam with video chat so that they spare the masks and gloves and contact.

    They also have been having doctors rest for these past few weeks.

  26. Another interesting video. I wonder, however, if they are looking in the wrong direction. I’m and engineer not a psychologist, but I know from personal experience and from observations that food – ice cream, chips, and pizza in my case – are my go-to when I’m very stressed, grieving, or fearful. Are there genes associated with higher and lower emotional resilience? Perhaps this is where the genetic connection to obesity is found, if one exists at all…

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