Monday, July 15, 2013

No New News Wanted

While checking my email, I noticed a news story on the feed.  Hunger Hormone.  Actually, it's not new news.  A similar story was published in 2009 about ghrelin, the hormone that regulates hunger.  This year, though, scientists in England found the gene that triggers it.

Genetics.  Science.  Hard cold facts. New discoveries about how the body works.  Today's news looked at how our distant past altered our genetic code in ways that play out in the electrical circuits of our brains as well as our visage in the mirror.

Within a few hours the story had disappeared. Searching for it, I found it buried beneath a story of how the Boy Scouts will not be allowing really fat kids at this year's jamboree.

Fox News carried the same story, briefly, with the obligatory picture of an unidentified person's gut, just in case we should forget what a fat person looks like.

The comments following the story were full of hate.  Stories of what those people dare to put in their grocery carts.  I suppose those commenting eat only organic free-trade mulch.

Those commenting ranted about conspiracies by Big Pharma and challenged the validity of the study.  No one ever challenges the Obesity Epidemic.  It is sacred.  Like the curtain before the holy of holies, it must never be withdrawn.  Yet, obesity is only linked to diabetes.  News stories mention a  correlation.  The actual studies, when examined closely show  numbers that are rarely statistically significant and a lot of cherry picking:  Who is included in the study.  Whom they decide should be ignored.

Yet a study where they measured how much ghrelin was in the blood at various times and what the brain activity showed is dismissed.  Must be a hoax, the naysayers chant. Can't be true.

Why not?  Big Pharma? What about the $60 billion weight loss industry?  A lot of people have a lot invested in fat people sticking with options that never work, and paying more and more, hoping this time, if they work really hard and are really good. .. Too many sheep to fleece.

But mainly, if we got rid of the Obesity Epidemic and focused on scientific data, we'd have one less group we can feel good about hating.  Over the past century that pool has shrunk considerably.  And if we can't hate, if there is no one to whom we are superior, than we might have to face our own self-loathing, our  inability to comprehend math and science, our fear of our own uncontrolled hunger.

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