A new study in mice shows that obesity might just be an infectious disease according to a study by researcher Richard Flavell, a professor of immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine.
In the study, mice engineered to have a particular immune deficiency developed fatty liver disease and got fatter when fed a Western-style diet. Fatty liver can cause inflammation and scarring. (Some fatty livers are also caused by excessive alcohol intake.) But strikingly, when these immune-deficient mice were put in the same cage as healthy mice, the healthy mice started to come down with symptoms of liver disease, and also got fatter.
We normally live in symbiosis with the bacteria in our guts, but in the study, the number of “bad,” disease-associated bacteria increased 1,000-fold in mice with immune problems, Flavell said. And it’s these bad bacteria that were transmitted from mouse to mouse, causing the healthy mice to also experience changes in their gut microbes…
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