Medical Minute 10-5: Workout Pill

By: Ramin Khalili Email
By: Ramin Khalili Email

Pam Mackie enjoys reading, but nothing beats "pumping iron". 20-plus years ago, a broken neck put her in a wheelchair. Even today, exercise is dangerous.

"My body's not able to regulate its temperature, so I have to be careful not to get overheated," said Pamela Mackie. "Blood and the fluids want to pool in my lower extremities - since I'm not able to move those."

Vihang Narkar of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston may be able to help.

"Exercise is a very complex process," said Vihang A. Narkar.

He's created a 'pill' that mimics aerobic activity. When you 'workout', your muscles use energy to move, then tell your body to make more energy. Narkar's pill acts like the signal that tells the body to boost energy production. In turn, your muscles are tricked into thinking they've been moving.

"I think this is particularly promising."

Studies show inactive mice on the pill ran up to 45% longer and further on a treadmill than mice without it, and with 23-million diabetics and 50-thousand muscular distrophy patients in the U.S., that's big news.

"All of these diseases - have been known to benefit from aerobic exercise," said Vihang A. Narkar, Ph.D., Medical Center Houston, Texas. "I wouldn't have to be worried about tearing out my shoulder ... or injuring myself."

Pam's sold. Just 35% of disabled women nationwide live at a healthy weight. She's hoping the doctor can keep her "fit" without the "hurt".

For more information, call (407) 740 - 0789 ext 579.

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