Tag Archives: Shanghai

Do bacteria cause obesity?

Have you noticed how in old television shows from the 1960s, ’70s, and even ’80s, everyone looks thin?

Americans are too fat. Despite that, we are getting fatter.

According to Centers for Disease Control data, the obesity rate was relatively stable in the USA between 1960 and 1980, when about 15% of people fell into the category. It increased dramatically in the ’80s and ’90s and was up to 32% in 2000 and 36% in 2010. As of 2010, more than 1 of every 3 U.S. adults (about 36%) were obese, which is roughly 30 pounds over a healthy weight, and 6% were severely obese, which is 100 or more pounds over a healthy weight. Those percentages qualify as an epidemic. And it’s an epidemic afflicting all income and education levels

According to a new study led by Eric Finkelstein, a health economist with Duke University Global Health Institute, at the rate we’re going, 42% of Americans may end up obese by 2030, and 11% could be severely obese, adding billions of dollars to health care costs. That means 32 million more obese people within two decades, on top of the almost 78 million people who were already obese in 2010.

But it’s not just America. Obesity worldwide has more than doubled since 1980, according to the World Health Organization, with more than 500 million adults worldwide suffering from the condition according to 2008 statistics.

Extra weight takes a huge toll on health, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, many types of cancer, sleep apnea, senile dementia, and other debilitating and chronic illnesses. (Read more on obesity-associated morbidity here.)

This alarming increase in obesity has been attributed to Americans’ high-fat high-sugar diet, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, and just plain gluttony. But new research suggests that a causal agent may be the enterobacter bacteria!

Enterobacter_aerogenes

An article in NewsMax Health, “Is Obesity Caused by Bacterial Infection?,” December 19, 2012, claims that researchers at Jiaotong University in Shanghai, China, have identified a bacteria which may cause obesity.

In a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal of the International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME), the researchers report an experiment that found mice bred to be resistant to obesity even when fed high-fat foods became excessively overweight when injected with a kind of human bacteria and subjected to a rich diet.

The bacterium known as enterobacter had been linked with obesity after being found in high quantities in the gut of a morbidly obese human volunteer, The mice were injected with the bacterium for up to 10 weeks as part of the experiment.

The researchers conclude that the bacterium “may causatively contribute to the development of obesity” in humans, and that diets that alter the presence of microbes in humans could combat the condition.

A human patient lost over 66 pounds in nine weeks after being placed on a diet of “whole grains, traditional Chinese medicinal foods, and prebiotics,” which reduced the bacterium’s presence in the patient’s gut to “undetectable” levels, the paper said.

One of the report’s authors, Zhao Liping, lost 44 pounds in two years after adopting a diet of fermented probiotic foods such as bitter melon to adjust the balance of bacteria in his gut, the American magazine Science said in an article this year on his previous research.

This is what Wikipedia says about the bacterium enterobacter:

Enterobacter is a genus of common Gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped bacteria of the family Enterobacteriaceae. Several strains of these bacteria are pathogenic and cause opportunistic infections in immunocompromised (usually hospitalized) hosts and in those who are on mechanical ventilation . The urinary and respiratory tracts are the most common sites of infection. It is also a fecal coliform, along with Escherichia. [...] In a recent study, over a 1/3 of gut bacteria in a morbidly obese volunteer was found to be Enterobacter. After 23 weeks, the volunteer lost almost 1/3 of his weight by virtually eliminating the bacteria via diet, while being prevented from exercising.

The “recent study” Wikipedia references is the same Chinese research that was published in The ISME Journal.

~Eowyn

A Living 12th-Century Painting

Imagine if a painting of a city in Renaissance Europe came alive. That’s what the Chinese have done — animated a famous 12th century Chinese painting of a bustling scene by a river.

Watch this video! You’ll be amazed….

Alexandra A. Seno reports for the Wall St. Journal, Nov 12, 2010, that “River of Wisdom” is the high-tech animation based on a famous 12th century 16.4 ft. long ink-on-silk scroll painting by Song Dynasty master Zhang Zeduan, “Qingming Shanghe Du” (Along the River at the Qingming Festival). The scroll was once considered too special to be viewed by anyone but the Emperor and the most important members of his court.

The scroll captured life in 12th-century China. With a cast of nearly 1,000 people, it presents a trading town flourishing under a strong imperial government, and records the cutting-edge advances being made in industries such as bridge-building and boat-making.

The animated scroll, “River of Wisdom,” was a huge draw at the World Expo in Shanghai, attracting millions to the China Pavilion. A version of the show in Hong Kong (same video and technology, but different installation) — at a cost of 18 million Hong Kong dollars (US$2.3 million) — was the hottest cultural event of the year in the city, with all 900,000-plus tickets quickly snapped up.

In Hong Kong, visitors pay HK$10 a ticket to spend an hour in the massive hall where a giant undulating screen — 394 ft. long, 21 ft. high–plays a four-minute video depicting “Qingming” scenes that stretch over a day and night: Boats and animals move, traders walk about, small children bounce around. According to the Hong Kong government, 11 sessions play daily, each to a capacity crowd of 3,500 — that’s 38,500 people a day!

~Eowyn

BusinessWeek: Public Schools Better in China Thanks to Communism

In the latest round of school performance competition, America predictably got its butt kicked by a slew of nations (even Estonia did better than us), prompting journalist John Hechinger to go about asking why.

The answer he found was twofold. Shanghai, the overall #1 performer, had merit-based pay for teachers and classroom instruction that emphasized real-world preparedness. But apparently, the only way to achieve this is with an authoritarian government that suppresses teacher unions.

Says one beltway career pundit:

The U.S. can’t move as fast as China because of resistance from teachers unions and parents, says Russ Whitehurst, an education expert at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. Yet Whitehurst, who served in the Education Dept. under President George W. Bush, doesn’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. “Lots of people in education reform get themselves tied into knots in praise of the ability of an authoritarian regime to get things done,” he says. “What gets lost is the price associated with the ability to move forward without the need for democratic dialogue.”

Whitehurst and his friends assume that “democratic dialogue” would naturally result in bloated union pensions, gay history curriculum, and incompetent teachers who never get fired.

Observe the way progressives really think: they accused Wisconsin governor Scott Walker of trampling democracy because they truly, seriously, literally believe that their agenda is the only possible outcome of democracy.

The article goes on to quote a college professor warning that China’s approach saps “creativity” out of children, which is ostensibly the one thing America has going for it. And I guess you can’t really argue with that – those signs they held up as they marched into Madison like good little union puppets were quite creative.

Not one conservative was quoted in the entire piece. No one argued that maybe creativity should not be the focus of public education, or that democratic dialogue in Wisconsin proved what the public wants.

The media are here to give you the choice. Turn your children into math drones at the behest of a communistic government, or let them dance in strawberry fields with an overpaid union teacher. There is no middle ground.

But remember, these are the folks who insist in finding nuance almost everywhere else.

-Candance