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Things I found this week - The Dangers of Obesity (week 12)

My favorite magazine right now is Scientific American. I love the pictures, articles, and absolute geek humor. (Radius of a cylinder of cheese is z and the height is a, what's the volume? Why Pi zza of course.) More than anything, I love the science - real science - of it.

This week, I came down this the flu/cold that's been running rampant all over the country. Dan Blank, my business coachish guy, told me he gave it to me via Skype. (One computer virus my ESET missed.) While our Lindy Hop instructor Jess claimed to be Typhoid Jess. In my phelgm and fever induced numbness, I was reading Scientific American.

The most striking thing I came upon this week is the article I scanned below.

The 5 Hidden Dangers of Obesity:

1. Heartburn: A 2005 study of 450 individual s found that obese adults are two and a half times more likely to experience heartburn compared with people of normal weight. One possible cause: visceral fat may push the stomach higher into the chest.

2. Labored breathing: Visceral fat, which surrounds internal organs, is more dangerous than subcutaneous fat, which lies under the skin. In this side view, visceral fat presses onto the diaphragm from below, which limits breathing by making it harder for the lungs (here shown in green) to expand.

3. Painful joints: The additional weight of excess pounds places a particular burden on the knees. In this image the arthritic damage (white) triggers pain and decrease in the knee's range of motion.

4. Depression: A dozen studies suggest that obesity can be an important cause of depression, probably because of a combination of physiological factors and social stigma. These neurons, from the cortex of the brain have shrunk and are misshapen.

5. Sexual dysfunction: Inflammatory chemicals released by fat cells may damage the branch like nerves in the penis and attack blood vessels in the clitoris leading to an inability to enjoy sex.

I found the images and information here to be shocking. Outside of painful joints, the rest seems to never be talked about. I was really shocked by the brain imaging and information.

Neurons of obese people have shrunk? Are misshapen? I know that Dr. Dean Ornish says that when people start a clean diet, it takes about a month before they are getting more blood flow to the brain and begin to make better decisions easier. You can see it on the Biggest Loser. After about three weeks, people are thinking more clearly. But obesity causing brain damage? Wow.  To me, this explains a lot about what's happening in the US.