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Extra holiday pounds may be healthy

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Dec 02, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- An Indiana University researcher is trying to determine if extra weight gained during the holiday season actually boosts the immune system.

Assistant professor and biologist Gregory Demas is studying the relationship between fat reserves and immune function in animal models, and has found sudden weight loss leads to the rapid depression of immune function. He also determined the opposite also holds true, in that an increase in fat reserves bolsters the strength of the animals' immune systems.

He is hoping to ascertain whether a little extra body fat could help humans and other animals deal with cold weather by providing extra insulation from the cold as well as extra energy to immune systems facing an onslaught of pathogens.

As yet, similar studies in humans have not been conducted, Demas said.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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