Exercise in a pill?

Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:08pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Researchers who genetically engineered “marathon mice” that could run for hours have found two pills that can mimic the effects — and they have already developed a test for the drugs in case athletes try to cheat with them.

The drugs reproduce many of the biological benefits of exercise, helping cells burn fat better and boosting endurance, said Ronald Evans, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California.

One of the pills may some day help people enhance their exercise or training, while the other might be more suited for couch potatoes who need to kick-start themselves, Evans and colleagues reported on Thursday in the journal Cell.

“If you like exercise, you like the idea of getting more bang for your buck,” Evans said in a statement. “If you don’t like exercise, you love the idea of getting the benefits from a pill.”

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