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The
Feb 8, 2002

On an HIV list service, there are many subscribers (including me)who are indicating that they have a condition being referred to as "the alien baby". It is so named because of the way the abdomen appears to bulge up to a point when doing a slow sit-up. The two halves of the abdominal wall seem to be separated from each other. It seems to be caused by the visceral fat pushing against the muscle from the inside. Have you been observing this condition in many people? (you would need to ask them to do a sit-up for you to really see it). Is it the same thing as the medical condition known as "diastasis recti"?, or would you view it as some type of hernia? Is there anything we can do about it?

Response from Dr. Henry

As usual I learn more from this than I teach. That term certainly catches your attention. Having visceral fat push out from both sides of the central tendon/muscles really would not be considered a hernia. I have had patients complain about that in the setting of visceral adiposity but the terminology you use to describe it is a first for me. Growth hormone, some oral diabetic meds, sometimes switching/stopping HIV meds, working with a nutritionist/exercise counselor all are being looked at--no approach can be endorsed at present as something that usually works. KH



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