Possible Exercise Pill

This story caught my eye because it immediately reminded me of Cory Doctorow’s wonderful short story, “0wnz0red”, published in his collection, A Place So Foreign and Eight More. I can never develop a good exercise habit because it always strikes me as to how pointless it is. That story is a wonderful, if fanciful, validation of that idea, that if we could only understand our own physiology well enough, we could hack it and outdo the gross mechanism of exercise by tweaking our metabolism directly.

Unfortunately, the details in the Wired story leave me a little skeptical. Even though the proven action of the drug, AICAR, in mimicking the action of AMPK in the cell tricking it into producing more energy carrying ATP, is pretty specific it does not appear to be the kind of hacking that can replace or improve on the existing action of physical exercise. Still, it may prove to be an incremental step along the way.

2 Replies to “Possible Exercise Pill”

  1. Trudging on a treadmill or flailing at a weight machine doesn’t do anything in and of itself. I am not arguing the health benefits, but the story makes the point better, that evolution has done a crummy job. It takes a certain amount of activity before the heart rate and metabolism even pick up to the point of starting to benefit the body. In “0wnz0red”, the conceit is that affecting the cellular machinery directly would not require the wasted time and effort involved in exercise.

    I also should have clarified, perhaps by contrasting “exercise” to “sport”. I enjoy the latter, which has many points in the form of the fun derived from participating, the camaraderie of a team, the satisfaction of a win, the challenge to do better inherent in defeat, et. al.

    I guess you could argue that the point of exercise alone is the health benefit but it seems too indirect, to me anyway, to keep me trudging on the treadmill long enough to form a habit of it.

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