Sunday, 19 July 2009


AS IF people struggling with obesity did not have enough to worry about

That is from a piece from New Scientist magazine regarding the 99 people in the US that have so far perished from swine flu, or the H1N1 virus. Of that number, 45% of them qualify as obese. The percentage in the general population is said to 26%in the article.

It's funny to be reminded that all we fatties are supposed to be quaking, and let's face it;

Every time we hear something (it's rarely good) about obesiness.

I'm not, and I'm pretty sure you aren't either. I've got to admit, this amuses the heck out of me at times. In part because I did used to be absolutely cacking myself every time I heard anything about fatness.

It's not that I've become complacent, I just keep in mind that when there is a (real?) emergency, we are told, above all, remain calm.

And I am nothing, if not dutiful.

OK, what frame do you think NS, decided to go with on this one? Before the suspense 'kills' you......

..... they went with, your inevitable pigging out-don't argue -has caused you to be fat. Fat, especially in the tum area triggers an inflammatory response in general, including in the immune system. Causing it to be too slow off the mark in fending off this virus in the early stages of infection. When your immune system catches on, later, it's response is not up to requirements. This enables the flu to worsen and that produces an almighty inflammatory response, called a "cytokine storm", it is this mostly that kills the person.

Now when you look at the list of those who've died so far in the US, from this virus;

* Pregnancy - under 10 %

* Diabetes - Less than 15 %

* chronic cardiovascular - under 15%

* Asthma - just over 10 %

* Other pulmonary disease - under 25%

* Obesity - just under 45 %

* No underlying condition - just over 10%

You can see from this fatness is way ahead of heart disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease, in this list of fatalities.

We are left with the impression, in the article and the analysis's presented to explain this phenomenon, that being fat weakens your immune system like those with chronic ailments or in an immune suppressed state such as pregnancy- where the woman's immune system is suppressed to prevent it from attacking the embryo/ fetus.

It all immediately reminded me of The influenza pandemic of 1918–1919, which caused 50 million deaths worldwide.

This virus which was tagged 'Spanish flu', is related to the H1N1 strain, and caused deaths in the same way as described in NS. Also;

The curve of influenza deaths by age at death has historically, for at least 150 years, been U-shaped, exhibiting mortality peaks in the very young and the very old, with a comparatively low frequency of deaths at all ages in between. In contrast, age-specific death rates in the 1918 pandemic exhibited a distinct pattern that has not been documented before or since: a "W-shaped" curve (the "U" is combined with the "W" here), similar to the familiar U-shaped curve but with the addition of a third (middle) distinct peak of deaths in young adults ≈20–40 years of age.

So flu kills the weak and the strong, the old and the young, and in the case of 1918 those -in the middle-said to have the most robust immune systems, precisely because of that robustness. I think the strength of the immune system is such that it creates a massive reaction which itself attacks healthy tissue and kills.

I might not have easily picked up on that in the days of panic and fear, if at all, and that is of course it's purpose, to create and maintain the conditioned response of panic in fat people, and others, to police them and to keep them as attack dogs to police fat people. And so the cycle continues.

If I was an innocent fatty trying act in accord with this 'advice' what would I do? Why fail try to lose weight again, which is known to lower immune resistance, as well as fail.

The writer doesn't tell us whether this will balance the 'overstimulated' fat immune system. If it did, we could choose to fail at dieting and worry hard, (which can also suppress immune function), as a strategy to counter the effects reported. That would be an interesting debate. It's not really on offer because it is of no interest.

The point is to slap down fatties, again, in a way that carries the gravitas of science.

This is why increasingly, smokers think that smoking is less dangerous than stopping and possibly gaining weight. Understandably, they're happy to pass the baton, but really it's the advice, or this constant slapping down of fatties that is altering meaning, palpably. I wonder if IV drug users etc will soon get that same kind of feeling.

It's possible, as the single minded direction of the 'advice giving' aimed at fat people continues to create an alternate universe of meaning.

Time will tell.

* Edited for visual clarity

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