When I was a kid I was told something that keeps bothering me until now, mainly because how weird it seems.

Namely, I was told that before antibiotics were discovered, people with tuberculosis were being treated with… obesity. I don't remember the exact explanation, but from what I recall fatty lungs were supposed to be better able to resist tuberculosis bacteria. IIRC it was fatty tissue that was supposed to be helpful here.

IIRC people with active TB were first being fattened quite severely, to combat the disease, then they could loose some of the most excess weight but still had to remain obese in order to prevent relapse.

Again - now this seems weird to me. However: • The person telling this to me (grandma) was not used to pranking kids by telling them false info; • She said she personally knew one specific case of a person with TB treated that way; • She was not opposed to contemporary medicine and acknowledged antibiotics to be a superior way.

Is there any truth to this? Or did my grandma fall victim to an urban legend?

  • 3
    Although this question lacks prior research (and gaazkam needs to fix that), I was surprised by the results I found when I googled it. It's actually an interesting question and it has modern, peer-reviewed results to support a good answer. – Carey Gregory Dec 18 '18 at 2:07

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