From the Series
Researchers have developed a blueprint of the molecular reactions the human body undergoes during exercise. Why is this significant? While the ideal body is achieved through a strict diet and hours of repetitive exercise, scientists envision a future in which it can be achieved using drugs.
According to research published in Cell Metabolism, scientists found that the body performs 1 000 molecular changes in skeletal muscles during exercise. The joint research effort by the University of Sydney and the University of Copenhagen mapped these changes in a blueprint that would form the foundation for future research.
Researchers would use the blueprint to eventually mimic these molecular changes using drugs instead of rigorous exercise.
The data was collected using a method called mass spectrometry. Four males had a muscle biopsy done before exercise and then exercised rigorously for 10 minutes. The volunteers then submitted a second muscle biopsy, which was then shipped off to Sydney and examined.
Over three years, scientist developed the blueprint of 1 000 molecular changes. While it is unlikely that one drug could mimic all 1 000 changes, scientists are working to determine which biological changes are the most significant. Once this has been established, researchers can start the laborious task of developing the drug, a process scientists say could take decades.
While the drug sounds like an easy way out for the chronically lazy, it could also be a major benefit to the elderly or people who suffer from degenerative diseases. “I think we can make major strides in medicine,” Dr Nolan Hoffman, an author of the study, told Quartz.