The curious association between adenovirus 36 and obesity:
Jeffrey B. Schwimmer, MD, associate professor of clinical pediatrics at UC San Diego, and colleagues examined 124 children, ages 8 to 18, for the presence of antibodies specific to adenovirus 36 (AD36), one of more than 50 strains of adenovirus known to infect humans and cause a variety of respiratory, gastrointestinal and other infections. AD36 is the only human adenovirus currently linked to human obesity.
Slightly more than half of the children in the study (67) were considered obese, based on a Body Mass Index or BMI in the 95th percentile or greater. The researchers detected neutralizing antibodies specific to AD36 in 19 of the children (15 percent). The majority of these AD36-positive children (78 percent) were obese, with AD36 antibodies much more frequent in obese children (15 of 67) than in non-obese children (4 of 57).
Children who were AD36-positive weighed almost 50 pounds more, on average, than children who were AD36-negative. Within the group of obese children, those with evidence of AD36 infection weighed an average of 35 pounds more than obese children who were AD36-negative.
Remember that correlation is not causation. Nonetheless, these findings are intriguing.
Washington, D.C. Mrs. Mark Bristol and her assistant, Mamie. Photo by Harris and Ewing
Mrs. Mark Bristol baked a couple of Virginia style hams for friends a few years ago. That eventually developed into a lucrative business for her. The flavor of the hams so intrigued the friends that they passed the word on to others and as a result Mrs. Bristol now bakes thousands of hams every year in her kitchen on fashionable Massachusetts Avenue and ships them to all parts of the world. Even the Duke of Windsor is now one of her best customers. It takes Mrs. Bristol four days to prepare a ham according to her specially formulate recipe. It is first soaked and simmered for days and then while baking, it is sprinkled with cloves, pineapple and basted with sherry, brandy or applejack. The hams are originally obtained from a special farm in Virginia where they have been smoked in the real Dixie manner. Mrs. Bristol frequently inspects the ham while is it in the simmering process. Her Virginia cook and first assistant, Mamie, wraps the ham.
Perhaps the most powerful yet simple tool in psychotherapy is the here-and-now: sharing the raw, honest thoughts and feelings about what's happening in the moment. The concept has been around forever, but no one champions its clinical use quite like Irvin Yalom.
Here-and-now is based on the idea that the client's interpersonal issues will eventually emerge in the therapeutic relationship. A woman who feels betrayed by all her friends and family will probably feel betrayed by her therapist at some time. A man with anger issues will eventually feel angry in therapy. Addressing the material that emerges in the room becomes the focus. Therapy becomes less talking about issues and more working with them as they happen, in the here-and-now.
Yalom encourages therapists and patients alike to take the vulnerable risk of discussing what's happening in the moment, a noticeable shift that often bears fruit.
I do think that some misdiagnosis occurs, but such a claim must be carefully qualified. Autism is not a fictional condition designed to fraudulently extract benefits from health insurers. If I had to guess, based on experience, I imagine that most cases have been correctly diagnosed.
Angle's complaint about health insurance coverage for autism appeals to a segment of the population that finds other-izing too appealing to resist. Their problems are always due to someone else who is cheating, never mind the taxpayer benefits they receive but rationalize as fair. The childless pay for schools for people who opt to have children, with no limit on how many children they can educate at the expense of others (8 kids in public schools, maybe 40-70 grand a year on someone else's tab); the younger generation pays for Medicare for the older generation, regardless of how personally responsible some people might be for their health problems; some people serve in the military for many others who don't bother.
The list is long and I am not objecting to any of these benefits or complaining about the unfairness of these benefits. I'm just noting the selective attention to "unfairness" in the system and the tendency to find fairness in benefits when one is on the receiving end. Everyone invents a notion of "deserving" that allows them to check the deserving box.