Patients who are seeking obesity treatment may be relieved to learn that their weight problem may be linked to a virus.
Although further research is needed to establish a link, researchers believe that a virus may play an important role in obesity and, if this turns out to be the case, researchers at Louisiana's Pennington Centre say it would pave the way for a new obesity treatment.
The common adenovirus-36 is known to cause colds and eye infections and the latest study has revealed that it may encourage stem cells to change into fat cells.
Lead researcher and obesity expert Dr Magdalena Pasarica, who presented the findings at the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston, Massachusetts, said that the study provides stronger evidence that some cases of obesity may involve viral infections.
"Not all infected people will develop obesity - we would ultimately like to identify the underlying factors that predispose some obese people to develop this virus and eventually find a way to treat it," she added.