mice exercise, exercise pill
Robert F. Bukaty/AP

Exercise Pill Works on Mice, But Will it Work on Men?

August 01, 2008 04:52 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A recent study has found that a pill can mimic the effects of aerobic exercise in mice, without any physical activity required.

30-Second Summary

Scientists have found that a chemical compound called AICAR changes the physical makeup of mice's muscles, conferring a variety of physical benefits, including increased endurance, resistance to weight gain and an improved response to insulin.

The mice were able to run 44 percent farther on a treadmill than other mice who did not receive the drug, according to a team of researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies that released the study on Thursday.

The drug transformed muscle tissue "from sugar-burning fast-twitch fibers to fat-burning slow-twitch ones, the same change that occurs in distance runners and cyclists through training," reported the Los Angeles Times.

A key part of the study was the identification of chemical pathways that are activated by exercise that converge to increase the animals' physical endurance.

The study raises questions about whether or not the drug would work on humans. Michael Rennie, a physiologist at the University of Nottingham in Britain, says that the drug had no effect on human subjects during a study that he conducted on its potential to treat diabetes.

"Mice are not men," Rennie said to the Los Angeles Times.

Darrell Neufer, a professor of sports medicine at East Carolina University, said to Wired that it would be nearly impossible to create an "exercise in a pill" drug for humans that would mimic all of the benefits of exercise.

"Physical activity is so important for maintaining the health of the human body in almost every human organ system," he said.

Headline Links: 'Scientists Say They've Found Exercise in a Pill'

Related Topics: 'New Study Says Exercise More, Here's How'

Reference: 'Exercise and the Brain'


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