Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine

New Drug Mimics the Beneficial Effects of Exercise 492

Posted by Soulskill
from the hide-it-in-a-brownie-and-americans-will-get-healthy dept.
Zothecula writes "A drug known as SR9009, which is currently under development at The Scripps Research Institute, increases the level of metabolic activity in skeletal muscles of mice. Treated mice become lean, develop larger muscles and can run much longer distances simply by taking SR9009, which mimics the effects of aerobic exercise. If similar effects can be obtained in people, the reversal of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and perhaps Type-II diabetes might be the very welcome result."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New Drug Mimics the Beneficial Effects of Exercise

Comments Filter:
  • The alternative (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Major Ralph (2711189) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @02:55PM (#44634275)
    Or you know, people could just go outside for a walk.
    • Re:The alternative (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @02:58PM (#44634311)

      How well has that worked so far?

    • Re:The alternative (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LoRdTAW (99712) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @02:59PM (#44634327)

      Easier said than done.

      • by houstonbofh (602064) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:08PM (#44634459)
        How about if I just change my facebook profile picture?
      • Re:The alternative (Score:4, Insightful)

        by hedwards (940851) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @06:23PM (#44636673)

        No, it's not. Instead of watching that 4th hour of television every night, spend a half hour or so and walk around the block a few times. Cut out all the dairy and wheat products and there you've probably avoided most of the crap that the pill is supposed to cure.

        I literally lost 25 pounds walking a half hour a day and cutting out the dairy, wheat and a lot of the superfluous carbs. At no point did I feel sick, tired or particularly hungry, in fact I felt and looked better than I had in years as my digestive track went back to a healthier state and my blood wasn't full of the crap that's in the usual American diet.

        It doesn't take that much work to eat and live healthily, it just requires some commitment to your heatlh and a willingness to give your body the kind of foods and exercise that it evolved dealing with. You don't need to eat just because it's dinner time, you eat when your body gets hungry, and I mean hungry, not just a craving to eat.

        • by Bremic (2703997)

          I don't disagree with your main point, but as someone who put on 50kg over 5 years while dealing with a chronic illness that was misdiagnosed and mistreated, options could be lifesavers. Put on drugs that caused weight retention, and not being able to exercise without having a seizure, was not a good time in my life. Something like this might have meant the 4 year recovery may have been doable in 1 or less.

          There are always reasons that people can't "just do" something that is good for them - not excuses, re

    • Re:The alternative (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @02:59PM (#44634335)

      Great idea for those of us that can't walk (7 year survivor of bone marrow cancer, taking 3 kinds of pain meds just to be able to walk the minimum distances required for work and living)...

      Biking and swimming (only in heated pools) are my only kinds of exercise that I can do on a regular basis.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:00PM (#44634347)

      Or you know, people could just go outside for a walk.

      I'd rather do a few hours of overtime every week ... so I can afford to buy pills and avoid all that WORK.

    • Re:The alternative (Score:4, Insightful)

      by roninmagus (721889) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:01PM (#44634365)
      Ain't nobody got time for that. I say bring on the pills.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:05PM (#44634401)

      When one MUST commute 45 minutes one way, work a ten hour day, commute another 45 minutes - traffic permitting, eat, do chores, etc .. getting proper exercise is challenging to say the least.

      I'm a real fitness nut and I have to plan my day pretty carefully and set some strict limits on other people's demands on my time.

      It's extremely difficult in technology since the culture is to live to work and live at work - if you're not constantly in front of the computer, then something is wrong with you.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NatasRevol (731260)

        one MUST commute 45 minutes one way, work a ten hour day, commute another 45 minutes

        No, just no.

        Or you value your life very little.

    • Re:The alternative (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:07PM (#44634435)

      How about those who can't? Muscle wasting is a major problem that complicates a variety of injuries and conditions, this could be a breakthrough for many people just wanting to live with more mobility and less pain.

      But then I guess that doesn't occur to the blinkered "fuck you" generation.

    • by 0racle (667029)
      And for those that can't? Or those that want to get healthy and can't exercise enough yet?
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @02:57PM (#44634307) Journal

    If it seems too good to be true...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by houstonbofh (602064)

      If it seems too good to be true...

      Wait until you see the side effects...

    • by srmalloy (263556)

      If the effects prove out, they had better make sure that they test for side effects at absurd overdose levels, because regardless of how it's intended to be used, there will be thousands if not millions of people who assume that if 100mg a day is good, 1000mg a day will be better -- and knowing what the overdose effects are in advance will make it easier to recognize and treat them.

      Not to mention coming up with a workable test to detect its use that the various sports anti-doping agencies will want to use..

  • Speculation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @02:58PM (#44634317) Homepage Journal

    Biology being what it is, it's reasonable to think that the health benefits of exercise are a multi-factor phenomenon and that any one chemical will deliver fewer benefits than the real thing.

    Then the odds are that the drug won't be bio-equivalent to the chemical signals released by real exercise and will have side effects as a result.

    • Re:Speculation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mangu (126918) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:19PM (#44634587)

      Or it could also be the exact opposite, perhaps it will give us the benefits of exercise without the downsides, such as the increased wear and tear in the body that exercise causes.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by internerdj (1319281)
        Or, somewhere in between, where severely obese people can get into shape necessary for regular exercise by going through the pill regimen or by supplementing or weaning themselves towards regular exercise. Or otherwise healthy people can use the pills to maintain the benefits of exercise while recovering from an injury or disease preventing regular exercise.
      • by berashith (222128)

        that sounds like cocaine. all of the fun of a high heart rate, none of the bother of getting off the toilet.

        most exercise doesnt really have wear and tear. that rumor gets consistently rebuffed by scientific methods.

  • by senorpoco (1396603) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @02:58PM (#44634321)
    XtremeShred, Fatbusterone, Buffadrine2000. Additionally they should only market it using annoying popup ads and late night television.
  • by wcrowe (94389) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:00PM (#44634349)

    I will probably work great... except for the anal leakage.

  • I'm just going to file this in the "Deeply suspicious" file, shall I?

    But you all try it, let me know how it goes.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      But you all try it, let me know how it goes.

      No, they'll stick with their usual MO -- do minimal testing, say there's no evidence to suggest it's harmful, get it approved, and wait until people have been using it to 'discover' side-effects.

      In all probability, they will have fudged their numbers to have excluded people with those effects as outliers.

      That's how they've been doing it for years.

  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:02PM (#44634377)

    Steroids, contrary to the public perception, can be used responsibly and with few health consequences, especially by men, to more easily lose fat and gain muscle.

    It's not quite a free lunch, you can't sit on your couch and become Ronnie Coleman, but it will accelerate things.

    Oops, sorry. Because we must protect the "integrity" of sports (and the money they bring in) we decided Steroids should be scheduled drugs

    They'd probably do the same thing if something like this actually worked.

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:19PM (#44634591) Journal

      can be used responsibly and with few health consequences

      Other than these....... [wikipedia.org]

    • by Applekid (993327)

      Steroids, contrary to the public perception, can be used responsibly and with few health consequences, especially by men, to more easily lose fat and gain muscle.

      It's not quite a free lunch, you can't sit on your couch and become Ronnie Coleman, but it will accelerate things.

      Oops, sorry. Because we must protect the "integrity" of sports (and the money they bring in) we decided Steroids should be scheduled drugs

      They'd probably do the same thing if something like this actually worked.

      Considering all the pressure on athletes to break records, I would expect a Juice League to earn much more than their non-steroid counterpart, as it would be more exciting for the fans.

    • by DutchUncle (826473) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:51PM (#44635097)
      I've never understood why you can't get them (perhaps with a doctor's prescription) if you're NOT participating in anything where they are banned. I'm not a pro athlete, I'm not looking to cheat anyone, I'm just a man over 55 who would like my workouts and cycling to be as effective as they were 20 years ago.
      • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @07:39PM (#44637411)

        I've never understood why you can't get them (perhaps with a doctor's prescription) if you're NOT participating in anything where they are banned. I'm not a pro athlete, I'm not looking to cheat anyone, I'm just a man over 55 who would like my workouts and cycling to be as effective as they were 20 years ago.

        You can. Go to a doctor and get your testosterone level checked. Most men over 55 have low testosterone and can get their doctor to prescribe some testosterone supplements. I used to work out with a guy in his 50s that was on it. He could bench press over 300lbs. It seemed to work for him. It's not steroids, but its the same idea.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          It literally is steroids, that's what replacement Testosterone is. One of the most effective steroids is good old fashioned Test. But generally your doctor will not take you to levels above that of a normal 20 year old man, for example.
  • What makes the fancy scientists think that this will be any different? I've given my wife 5,000 excuses for not going to the gym. They never work.
  • by MRe_nl (306212) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:04PM (#44634391)

    I always thought exercise mimicked the beneficial effects of drugs.

  • by Bovius (1243040)

    I guess that money I shelled out for an exercise bike to slouch on while I watch Food Network shows was wasted, huh?

    • Re:Oops (Score:4, Funny)

      by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:19PM (#44634589)

      I guess that money I shelled out for an exercise bike to slouch on while I watch Food Network shows was wasted, huh?

      Turn your exercise bike to face away from the TV, turn on Fox and Friends and pretend they're chasing you. Those extra pounds will come off in no time. :-)

      [ Ahhhhh... Steve Doocy is right behind me .... Must... peddle... faster... ]

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      I guess that money I shelled out for an exercise bike to slouch on while I watch Food Network shows was wasted, huh?

      With no evidence to support this whatsoever ... I'll say 90-95% of all home exercise equipment eventually becomes a place to stack clothes or something like that. Probably within the first 3-6 months.

  • by rtgree01 (457275) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:08PM (#44634451)

    That way I can work on my 6-pack

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      That way I can work on my 6-pack

      Bah, why have a six pack when you can have an entire keg? ;-)

  • by crow (16139) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:08PM (#44634461) Homepage Journal

    A drug that tricks the body to respond as if it has been exercising will work on all muscles. Real exercise only works on the muscles that you use. Overuse of this drug would be expected to cause muscle growth where you don't want it. Bulk up those facial muscles.

    Sure, in limited cases, this could be great. I'm thinking of cases where people can't exercise, using this in low doses to reduce the length of rehabilitation. Stuck in bed for a month or two due to a car accident? This is for you.

    Of course, if it works, it will be abused. Need to get that extra edge for the Tour de France?

  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:09PM (#44634469)
    It would have the same beneficial effects of SR9009 plus the laundry would always be done.
  • Drumroll... (Score:4, Funny)

    by JeanCroix (99825) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:10PM (#44634489) Journal
    ..And I hear ARod is already being investigated for it.
  • Gravity pills (Score:5, Informative)

    by steveha (103154) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:11PM (#44634501) Homepage

    One of the problems facing astronauts: long periods of microgravity cause bone and muscle loss [howstuffworks.com]. I've read science fiction stories where people had to take pills to maintain their bones and muscles; they called them "gravity pills".

    If this drug really works, I'm wondering if the astronauts in the space station, future Mars missions, etc. might wind up taking it drug routinely.

    Probably a Mars mission will need to have some sort of rotating crew module to produce a gravity-like acceleration [wikipedia.org], as it will likely require at least seven months [wikipedia.org] for the trip.

    • by crow (16139)

      I've heard that most of the muscle and bone loss in space has been due to astronauts failing to keep up with exercise programs while in space, so the problem isn't as bad as it is perceived to be. Still, you're probably correct that something like this would still be useful for the space program.

  • by erice (13380) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:20PM (#44634595) Homepage

    From TFA:

    Previous studies on mice lacking Rev-ErbA showed decreased skeletal muscles, metabolic rate, and running capacity. Such mice appeared fated by their genetics to live as couch potatoes.

    When Burris' group administered SR9009 to these mice to activate the Rev-Erb protein, the results were remarkable. The metabolic rate in the skeletal muscles of the mice increased significantly. The treated mice were not allowed to exercise, but despite this they developed the ability to run about 50 percent further before being stopped by exhaustion.

    So they created some broken mice and then treated them with a drug that reversed what they broke. And, what do you know? The effects were reversed too.

    I'd like to see a followup on unmodified mice to see if they also benefit. If Rev-ErbA is already present and active at normal levels, the drug may not do anything.

    • > I'd like to see a followup on unmodified mice to see if they also benefit

      Bingo!

    • by Hartree (191324)

      Actually, the Nature paper addresses this. They found that while underexpression of Rev-ErbA weakens muscles, overexpression of it gave the increased benefits over normal.

      Granted, this was in the defective mouse and needs to be followed up with wild type, but it looks like it's not just the replacement.

  • by csumpi (2258986) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:23PM (#44634627)
    All we need now is just a sex pill. Then we can sit on the sofa all day updating our facebook status, while having all our needs satisfied popping pills.

    Go humans!
  • Oh, right...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenfluramine/phentermine

  • I swear this sounds just like a Marvel Comics hero origin story...

    -jcr

  • Sounds like how I've heard meth described. I've also heard it's awesome for weight loss too.

    Do the mice feel the need to take apart their exercise wheel?

  • It's great they've had promising tests in mice, but journalists always go on to make some fabulous claim for how the future wonder cure/thing is right around the corner.

    Yes, this is interesting, and maybe there is some good science/medicine that will come out of it - but we're FAR down the road from an exercise pill. I know the article isn't saying it's right around the corner either but it just feels like a lot of speculation and hyperbole at this point.

    I know, I know - total Debbie Downer - sorry.

    • I'd blame it more on the scientists (and their organizations). There are all kinds of self-serving reasons for a lab to convince people they're on the verge of some great breakthrough. I've been hearing about cancer cures 5 years down the road for about 20 years now.

  • by Hartree (191324) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @04:28PM (#44635587)

    According to the Nature paper referenced, they think part of the way it works is increased creation of working mitochondria, and increased recycling of nonworking mitochondria.

    That's a useful thing to be able to modify. There are a number of diseases that seem to involve increasing mitochondrial disfunction or decreased numbers of them.

    In fact, one of the theories of aging is that the mitochondria stop working so well contributing to senescence because there's less energy for the cell to do routine things like take out the trash (buildup of nonworking protein and other remnants). That's certainly not the whole story on aging, but it's likely a part of it.

    This may not work in humans, or even if it does might not lead to an exercise pill, but this is certainly interesting work.

  • by John Allsup (987) <s,chalisque&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @04:47PM (#44635741) Homepage Journal
    Exercise that only tones the muscles isn't the most productive.  Exercises that do this and integrate body and mind (such as a skilled sport or a martial art) do much more, and I doubt these drugs would accomplish any of that.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

Working...