Like a zombie plague, they just keep coming and coming…
An abstract in the Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology describes efforts by scientists at Braasch Biotech LLC to develop a vaccine for obesity in mice and men. The vaccine works by inactivating somatotropin, a hormone which in turn depresses production of growth hormone. Since injections of growth hormone had previously been found to reduce adipose tissue and increase lean body mass, it was hoped that inhibiting the activity of somatotropin would have the same effects.
All the mice in the study were fed a high-fat diet for 6 weeks. On days 1 and 22 of the study, the experimental mice received intraperitoneal injections of the vaccine while the controls were sham-injected with saline solution. All the mice gained weight, but the ones who got the vaccine gained significantly less.
An article in the Los Angeles Times begins:
“Behind the shimmering prospect of a newly approved prescription weight-loss medication and the possibility of two more to come is a more distant glimmer of hope for those who have already cracked the obesity barrier…”
“Shimmering prospect?” WTF? Is the author a reporter or an advertising copywriter?
The same article notes that further studies on pigs and dogs are planned. I’m sure these animals will enjoy having needles jabbed into their abdominal cavities just as much as the mice did. What right do we have to torture defenseless animals to develop a cure for a condition which is 100% self-inflicted?
Ever watch The Fat Doctor? Every episode tells the story of a couple of patients who are two hundred pounds overweight, three hundred pounds overweight, even four hundred pounds overweight. And they speak with disarming candor about themselves. “I eat and eat and eat and eat,” one remarks. Another one relates how, before her surgical mutilation, she would go to McDonald’s and eat four Big Macs, four servings of French fries, and four apple pies. She’s laughing as she tells us this, as if she had been really putting one over the rest of us.
The only people who are fit to be free men and women are those who are capable of practicing self-control and self-discipline. As a society, for the past several decades, we have been busy shredding these old-fashioned notions. And what exactly are we getting in return?
During the fattening-up period in the above-mentioned study, the control mice gained almost four times as much weight as those who got the vaccine. That sounds like a big deal, but in terms of total body mass it’s a difference of only 9.6% . When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound nearly as impressive.
In the absence of any data, we cannot assume that even these underwhelming results would be forthcoming for human subjects who got the vaccine. And even if they were, we’d still be miles away from linking this modest reduction in weight to any clinically meaningful outcome.
Remember this stuff works by inactivating somatostatin, and this inactivation in turn raises the levels of growth hormone. So does exercise, which mean the folks who took this stuff as a substitute for exercise would be missing out on a thousand and one other documented benefit of exercise.
And it’s not as if there is no potential downside to raising levels of growth hormone. Well-established effects of excess growth hormone include joint and muscle pain, muscle weakness, carpal tunnel syndrome, insulin resistance, and sexual dysfunction.
Moreover, somatostatin does more than put the brakes on the manufacture of growth hormone. It also modulates the production of thyroid-stimulating hormone, gastrin, cholecystokinin, secretin, motilin, vasoactive intestinal peptide, gastric inhibitory polypeptide, insulin, and glucagon. What will be the long-term effect of monkeying with titers of all these hormones? Who knows?
No doubt the medical profession will come up with even more interventions to partially ameliorate the damage done by this vaccine. And no doubt our rulers will demand we hand over even more money in taxes and health insurance premiums to pay for it all.
The essence of addiction is the pursuit of ever-more evanescent rewards by ever-more drastic means. Our relentless search for new medicines in and of itself is starting to look like an addiction.
Photos via Wikimedia Commons