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Biotech Science

Muscle Mice 116

SilasMortimer writes "Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder have accomplished that for which humankind has been desperate since the dawn of civilization: turning sad, injured regular mice into angry, beefed-up super-mice. Well, okay, there's no official word in the article about the rodents' emotional states, but certainly when stem cells were injected into mice with leg injuries, the muscle grew back... almost twice as big as it was before the injury [abstract, supplemental material (PDF)]. This has many exciting implications, from better healing after injuries to slowing down the aging process to a spike in the number of cases of Generalized Anxiety Disorder among cats. I, for one, refuse to perpetuate outdated memes. (But feel free to make up for the lack.)" If these mice are bred with those given previously discovered treatments to make them smarter and fearless, we might be in trouble.
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Muscle Mice

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @03:02AM (#34239524)

    Stem-cell-enhanced fingers may lead to first posts.

  • by Anonymous Coward


  • an oldie (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I for one welcome our new fearless super intelligent roid rage mice overlords

  • Viagra Spam (Score:3, Funny)

    by oldhack ( 1037484 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @03:11AM (#34239546)
    All medical research PR sounds like a viagra spam to me.
    • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @03:30AM (#34239616)

      All medical research PR sounds like a viagra spam to me.

      When all you have is impotence...

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      It still brings to mind the thought, if they inject brain geared stems cells into the testicles of jock straps will they be able to think more clearly and that's with or with out an erection, the mind boggles, or in the case of jockstraps, instead of thinking giving them a headache it will trigger a braingasm.

  • So once this is perfected will steroid use by professional athletes go down? And will it be possible to detect usage of this enhancement technique?
    • by Que_Ball ( 44131 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @03:28AM (#34239608)

      I predict they won't even wait for this to be perfected.

      Someone in a third world country is likely brewing up a batch of stem cells in their "lab" as we speak.

      Maybe they will have it ready in time for London. Weight lifting, you were a sport once. Now it's just magic show where everyone wonders how they make the trick work.

      • Technically speaking, it should be fairly easy to customize muscle clumps in humans.
        We just need a little more research in terms of how to deliberately injure muscle fibers before introducing the stem-cells.

        Before long, we'll have muscles in shapes and sizes than are dreamt of in your philosophy. :)

        • *Gags!*

          I can't believe I mucked up there..
          The last line should have read: "Before long, we'll have muscles in _more_ shapes and sizes than are dreamt of in your philosophy." :|

          Don't ask what I was doing when I was supposed to be previewing. :P

          • Don't ask what I was doing when I was supposed to be previewing. :P

            Building up your right forearm muscles since you had learned that they could now compensate with stem cell injections in the left?

            • Haha! Pretty close, but not close enough. I was choking on a mouthful of carbonated water. :)

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Stooshie ( 993666 )
          " ... deliberately injure muscle fibers ... "

          That's what exercise does. I damages the cells which are then repaired by the body's normal systems. I suspect stem cell treatment just speed this up.
          • The problem with this stem cell stuff, is that there needs to be enough damage to repair. Small damage from ripped muscles (through workouts) will have a small muscle increase. Big damage (perhaps surgically ripped), big increase. :)

            Of course, it would still work on lightly ripped muscles, but the dosage would have to be over a long period of time. Surgical rips would be loads quicker and a smaller window of exposure.

        • by sempir ( 1916194 )

          Fuck professional sport abuse! I'm 70 years old and have a few very pressing needs of this technology myself, and one of them involves.....ahhh.......never mind, it'l come to me.....but I need it!

          • I'm guessing you have'nt tried lifting weights with whatever it is that will come to you. :)

            You sure have a great sense of humor for a 70-year-old. I always thought 50's humor would'nt tickle me, but I stand wowed!

      • by Sowelu ( 713889 )
        You kidding? I've seen an article about a crazy doctor in an ethically-vague country who already killed someone with stem cell treatments: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2010/06/18/danger-stem-cell-tourists-patient-in-thailand-dies-from-treatment/ [discovermagazine.com]

        "According to a paper about the case just published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the woman went into a decline soon after her treatment. Within three months she required dialysis, within a year one kidney had failed, and wit
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Every death is a lesson learned. I wouldn't be surprised if China ends up leading the world in advanced medicine, as they have two vital advantages: The money to pay for it, and the willingness to press ahead with potential technologies rather than spending ten years on five types of animal study and regulatory bickering.
        • "No evidence at all that the treatment had benefited the woman" is a lot different from "killed with stem cell treatments".

          People can have chronic kidney disease without ever reaching kidney failure, so if she was worried enough about it that she was willing to risk getting some crazy treatment, it must have been pretty bad already. If someone who's going to die soon wants to risk their already poor health volunteering for a new untested treatment which may or may not cure them, I don't see any reason why t

        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          I wish they had a few more details there. It's clear enough that the treatment didn't help and produced lesions. What isn't clear is that the kidney failure wasn't simply the unabated progression of her disease. What finally killed her was an infection, not the after-effects of the treatment.

          It does show a need for caution and that stem cells aren't some sort of magic bullet.

    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:09AM (#34239746) Journal
      The reason steroids are illegal in sports is because they are damaging to the health. People think you should be able to compete in events without doing weird, unhealthy stuff like that. A lot of performance enhancing substances are perfectly legal, and everyone does them, like powdered protein, or creatine. If you don't use protein, it's really depressing how many cans of tunafish you have to eat to make up for it. These are so unlikely to damage your health that anyone can use them without special help from a doctor, and without health problems.

      There is a scale, and of course steroids of course are on the extreme end of the spectrum, and have a lot of negative health effects. Other things, like blood doping, is mostly safe, but still carries risks and is hard to do by yourself, so it is kind of in the middle. Diet drugs are in the middle, but are legal. Protein is on the safe side. If this new technique ends up on the safe side, it will be legal. If it ends up on the unsafe side, it will be illegal. If it ends up in the middle, other random factors will end up determining what side it ends up on.

      I don't have the knowledge to comment on whether it will be easy to detect or not.
      • It's not just damaging to health. It's the cheating.

        As far as "damaging to health" goes, the dose makes the poison. There's natural variation in testosterone levels; how do you argue damaging to health, if the least-chemically-manly merely doses up to the same level as the most-chemically-manly in an event? The result is the same as a naturally-occurring level, but it was obtained by doping, therefore it's illegal.

        You could credibly argue, also, that any level of testosterone is hazardous to your l
        • Dude, your arguments seriously look like someone who has an idea and is looking for anything to support it. Don't do that. Instead look at all the evidence and try to figure out what is the most likely conclusion. Don't be like the drunk man in the saying, who used statistics for support instead of illumination.
          • Not sure what you're saying. I've never done any of that stuff, if that's what you're implying, but it's entirely possible to enhance performance with drugs in ways that are not a health risk. So, that can't be the reason it's banned. Athletes could use testosterone and EPO to bring their personal levels right up the medically defined "upper limits", therefore not a health risk, yet under current rules it would still be illegal.

            So it's about the cheating, not the health risk.

            See, for example, http: [wikipedia.org]
            • I discussed blood doping in my original post. If steroids weren't a health risk, athletes would be using them as much as they use protein now.
  • I, for one, welcome our new angry beefed-up super mice overlords.
  • . . . thought that article was going to be about how my PC could build up my right bicep.

    (Because my right needs help catching up to my left)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "So, what do you want to do tonight Muscles?"
    "Same thing we do every night Pinky, PUMP SOME IRON!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MoeDumb ( 1108389 )
      Supermouse to scientist: "Build a better mousetrap and I'll punch your lights out."
      • I didn't know Carl Paladino donated stem cells.
        • by unitron ( 5733 )


          I was looking for the (I thought) inevitable Christine O'Donnell mice with human brains comment and you go with the much more subtle Paladino reference.

  • by geogob ( 569250 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @03:50AM (#34239668)

    I can only start to see how this could go wrong. From tumors to having a lung grown in the leg... I fear we might have face some interesting surprises during more extensive testing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by houghi ( 78078 )

      I fear we might have face some interesting surprises during more extensive testing.

      The most interesting surprises will be in the field of sports as I am sure that is where most of the extensive testing will be done. Tour the France in three days instead of three weeks. 100 meters in under two seconds.

      World records will be shattered.

      • by hitmark ( 640295 )

        As will furniture and faces?

      • World records will be shattered.

        Many more bones will also be shattered as well.
        Tendons, ligaments, joints will be rupturing, snapping, popping.
        They will sound like a bowl of Rice Krispies...SNAP! CRACKLE! POP!
        Then there's the pesky cardiopulmonary support upgrades needed.

        Obligatory car analogy:
        In my misspent youth, I watched two guys install/hack an 1800 horsepower Allison V-1710 (V-12) form a decommissioned P-51 Mustang fighter, into a 1967 Ford Mustang.
        To make a long story short, they ended up with a piece by failed piece custom drive-t

        • Similarly, at a lake near where I grew up, kids with more money than sense would put ever-larger motors on tiny motorboat hulls (13' Checkmate, official limit was 55HP). Apparently, with a large enough motor (135HP) and the right prop, when you goose it from a standstill, the bow comes up, and just keeps on coming over. Oops.
        • by BranMan ( 29917 )
          So, in other words they were idiots who tested this contraption for the first time at a drag strip by doing a full-power, pedal to the floor, stomp from a dead standstill? Brilliant.
          • You are assuming too much, and doing too much 'reading between the lines'.
            The pair I chronicled were successful semi-pro drag racers. They did not have Engineering degrees, formal or factory training, but had a proven track record for 'making cars go fast' to the drag racing community.

            The purpose and focus of my posting the comment and car analogy was on topic for the 'Muscle Mouse' discussion, so I purposely did not go into long detail.

            So, for YOUR narrow minded and OFFTOPIC comment reply, here goes:

            The tw

            • by BranMan ( 29917 )
              My apologies - I didn't intend for my post to be a bash of Dick and Al, though in my defense your post didn't do much to make them sound like they knew what they were doing.

              Drag racing is a dangerous and exacting sport, pushing mechanical and material science to the hairy edge and beyond - I wish you well with it.

              Assclown was a bit much though.

              • by rts008 ( 812749 )

                Assclown was a bit much though.

                You're correct, and my apologies also.

                I had left a lot of info out just to keep it short and ontopic. Sorry for the confusion.

        • In my misspent youth, I watched two guys install/hack an 1800 horsepower Allison V-1710 (V-12) form a decommissioned P-51 Mustang fighter, into a 1967 Ford Mustang.

          An interesting endeavour, if somewhat foolhardy. I vaguely recall that "standard practice" back in the day was to put the V-12 on an industrial bandsaw and (sob) saw it in half to make a relatively lightweight 6 cylinder race car engine. I definitely recall seeing one such bandsaw with the two engine halves nearby. On a brighter note, I recently visited a facility in Florida and sat in a shop with what looked like 50+ Allisons, Merlins, and possibly other assorted V-12 engines lined up on the shelves, s

          • by rts008 ( 812749 )

            On a brighter note, I recently visited a facility in Florida and sat in a shop with what looked like 50+ Allisons, Merlins, and possibly other assorted V-12 engines lined up on the shelves, so at least someone is preserving and refurbishing them.

            Good for them! Those were amazing engines, especially the Merlins.
            I had the good fortune(as a car nut) to grow up in Southern Maryland and saw some incredible stuff at Budd's Creek dragstrip. 'Jungle Jim' Liberman (with Jungle Pam--HAWT!!!), the 'Green Monster jet car, the 'Draggin' Wagon', 'Big Daddy' Don Garlits racing his dragster against a US Navy fighter launched from a steam catapult on the deck of an aircraft carrier, and other fun stuff was happening all the time.*sigh*

            As a side note, I saw in HotRo

  • For all the humor in the title, there's hopefully just as much promise.

    My doctor recently told me that my twenty-something year old skeleton is basically aged like a geriatric's. The implications long term are not good. If they can make stem cells grow bone and muscle, I might not spend my fifties fighting infections in a wheelchair. It's bad enough not being able to ride a bike before I'm 30.

    • That sounds awful. I hope they do make significant advances in stem cell research so that you and others can get the treatment you deserve. That being said, might I suggest you consider a career as a supervillain [imdb.com]? I hear the pay is very nice and you get a cool lair.

      • Thanks for the support. Right now it's not clear if it will stop where it is or get worse. Still, it sucks to have osteopenia when you're young.

        I only found out because I got a slipped disc in my neck. My doctor asked what I did to mess things up so bad, and the answer was 'nothing at all', which triggered all sorts of tests to find out if I had nutritional or hormonal deficiencies, or even cancer. So far it looks like None of the Above, which is a good thing, I think.

    • Not even a bike? I am so sorry. Maybe a recumbent tricycle? That's as low-impact as I can imagine, that still uses muscles at all, unless you swim everywhere (and even then, sometimes you kick the side by accident).

      A friend, because of congenital circulatory problems that should have killed her as a child, is now wandering around (and riding a bike) with 40% of the CV capacity of a middle-aged woman. She gets winded sometimes. You think, some of those performance-enhancing drugs, can't we use them f
      • I can still ride, but bumpy roads or jumping a curb puts me out of commission for two days. So does sprinting to catch up with my dog, or playing with the doggie pull-toy.

        I just hope whatever caused my body to lose bone mass has stopped, there's no way to tell except for checking on it every few years.

        • I'm a satirical writer, hence the humorous tone in the post. But the very reason I keep up with this particular subject is because of someone I know and love very, very much.

          While she's not as bad off as you are, her physical problem is such that it might prevent her from a career in her chosen field: microbiology, ironically or coincidentally, depending on how you look at it. And currently there is no form of therapy that will improve it. The current best hope is to retard its onslaught.

          My point is t
    • by Nos. ( 179609 )

      Both my children have Duchenne muscular dystrophy, so these kind of advances have a lot of promise for people with degeratvie muscle conditions.

  • From the article: "These cells not only repaired the injury, but they caused the treated muscle to increase in size by 170 percent."

    Here comes the New Incredible Hulk. No need for gamma rays, nor anger feed to turn into a green monster. Gone the urge to get new large clothes after each transformation..

    The New Hulk version 2.0 doesn't turn green. He has gone through several stem cells injections, he stays big, and doesn't need anger management classes... But it will be still quite unwise to piss him off

  • It's ............... Biker mice from Mars!
  • I guess it could put a new meaning into the question: "Are you a man or a MOUSE?"

  • That means that Mighty Mouse is on the way.

  • How long before they bottle this up and sell it to the public?

  • I, for one, welcome our outdated meme perpetuating overlords!
  • the cure for the anxious cats was discovered long ago, it has something to do with giving them cheezebugers,,,

  • Very useful information, many thanks!
  • One is a genius the other is insane.
    • Pinky: Gee, Brain. What are we going to do tonight? The Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world.
  • Notice that the growth only occurs if the muscle was injured. This implies that there's a valid biological mechanism inspiring the body builders' slogan "No pain, no gain!"

  • ...the first clinical trials will be on football linemen. Or professional wrestlers.

  • I for one welcome our Hulkified squeaky furry Overlords

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson