Sunday, May 01, 2005

Obesity and influenza

Science News (print edition, April 23, 2005) has an interesting piece about work presented earlier this month at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego by Melinda Beck and her colleagues at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Noticing in a recent trial that heavy people didn't derived less protection from influenza vaccine, Beck and her colleagues fed 70 female mice a normal diet and 70 an especially fattening diet for 22 weeks. They then infected each group with influenza virus.

The disease was much milder in the mice fed a normal diet with mortality only 4%, but disease was severe in the obese mice with 40% mortality. Beck says the obese mice took longer to develop a cytokine response and their natural killer cells were only half as effective at eliminating infected cells.

The anti-obesity hype Hype nothwithstanding, it is another occasion of Thought for Food.