August 1, 2008

Researchers Put Workout into a Pill

Scientists in California said they've found a way to offer the benefits of exercise in a pill.

The pill, which targets two signaling pathways that are activated in response to exercise, turned laboratory mice into long-distance runners and conferred many of the health benefits of exercise, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies said Thursday.

The research, led by Ronald M. Evans of the Salk Institute's Gene Expression Laboratory, is published in the journal Cell.

The findings have therapeutic potential in treating certain muscle diseases, such as wasting and frailty, as well as obesity and a slew of associated metabolic disorders where exercise is known to be beneficial, the Salk Institute said.

Evans has developed a test that can readily detect the oral drug, identified only as GW1516, in blood and urine and is working with the World Anti-Doping Association to have a test in place in time for the Summer Olympics, the institute said.