cross posted to Fools Fighting FatVirus Causes Obesity, Say ResearchersStaff ReportsThe Hartford CourantApril 1 2003A study published in the highly respected New England Journal of EternalMedicine due out today claims that obesity is caused by a virus.The finding, if valid, directly contradicts the widely accepted theory that links obesity with lifestyle factors such as diet and lack of exercise.Researchers said they were studying the relationship between a defectivegene and binge eating when they stumbled upon the virus."We were absolutely stunned by the discovery," said head researcher Dr. T. Brown Gravie. "It has always been assumed that people developed obesity. Now, there appears to be credible evidence that obesity is something you catch, like measles or a cold."The implications are enormous.If it is true, it means that it may one day be possible to simply walk into a doctor's office and receive a shot that will prevent weight gain.It also means that the days of needless sweating, dieting and denyingoneself favorite foods could soon be coming to an end.When the study's results were released Monday, the stocks of companies that make ice cream, pastry, and potato chips soared on the New York Stock Exchange, while those that produce health foods, diet soda, and light beer saw their value nose-dive.The $10 billion exercise industry also took a huge hit. Quipped one broker, "Suzanne Somers should be standing on a ledge right now with a big piece of cheesecake in her hand."Another indication the study is being taken seriously is that it has already attracted celebrity sufferers.At a tearful news conference Monday, Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers revealed they caught their girth from the late Carroll O'Connor while working together on the television show "All in the Family."The two-year study, which involved 200 individuals, was conducted at thehighly regarded Widet Institute of Load Analysis in Philadelphia.Obesity researchers have wondered for years why thin individuals married to overweight individuals usually become overweight, while the overweight individuals rarely become thin.To address this question, Gravie and his staff created two control groups.One group consisted of subjects of average weight, while the other wasequally divided between average weight and overweight subjects. Those ineach group were fed an identical diet consisting of 2,400 calories per day.At the end of the trial, the group of average-weight subjects showed only negligible gains.In contrast, none of the previously average-weight subjects in the mixedgroup was able to fit into a standard airline seat without lubrication.Initially, researchers believed the obesity, or "Elvis," virus was spread via close-quarters flatulence - automobiles, elevators - but now say the infection is spread exclusively through burping.Gravie said he and his colleagues are already working on a promising vaccine derived from, of all things, duct tape.Although the vaccine will not be on the market for three to four years,Gravie said there are things people can do to protect themselves in themeantime.Foremost among them is the standard eight glasses of water a day. For this to be most effective, Gravie says, the liquid must be inhaled through the nose.Also, if one is suddenly exposed to concentrated burp spores, Gravie advises pinching the nose and chanting na-na na-na-na-na until you become lightheaded.Another preventive step endorsed by Gravie involves standing naked in front of a full-length mirror and mouthing the words April Fool.m
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