Ever wonder how to kill a rat with food

 There is a concept of "healthy" saturated fat.  Since being saturated refers to a bio-chemistry definition in which all available  carbon bonds are used by a hydrogen atom I've wondered what that meant.  I had never considered how the research on fibrosis is actually done with animal trials but I was fortunate to be able to recently attend a conference of about 200 of the top liver researchers in the world. The official focus was to update everyone on the progress on the most interesting 20+ drugs inching closer to human trials and possibly a treatment for fibrosis but I was struck by the specifics of how the research is done.


When you want to study how a drug might work against liver disease in a mouse or rat you first have to give it liver disease. How might that be done quickly and cheaply and mimic human disease you might be moved to ask. Well, suppose there are two really good diets you can feed them. It is that simple. There are two main ones that are named the "Western Diet" and the "Fast Food Diet".

I wonder what might be in that food. Would it surprise you to learn they have two main components? Would you bet on lots of saturated fat and sugar? It is that simple. You can give a mouse cirrhosis in weeks by just feeding them what you eat and feed your kids every day.

The information on the bio-chemistry was absolutely fascinating but I was dumbfounded by the little detail of how to create illness that ran through the conference. I'm pondering how to make that more clear to people in general but I offer it here for whatever it may be worth.  

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