The research noted here is a representative example of efforts to reverse engineer the mechanisms by which exercise produces benefits, with an eye to achieving the same result with pharmaceutical compounds rather than exertion. Exercise works to grow muscle, improve endurance, and maintain long-term cardiovascular health through some set of mechanisms, as yet far from fully explored. The future of efforts to develop exercise mimetic drugs will no doubt be as laborious and difficult as the past fifteen years of work on calorie restriction mimetics, and for all the same reasons. Both are enormously broad and complex swathe of cellular biochemistry, poorly mapped, and expensive to explore.
In this area of research, even incremental advances in understanding have required years and a great deal of funding to achieve – just look at ongoing work on sirtuins, for example. As yet none of these programs have delivered meaningful approaches to therapy, treatments that might capture a sizable fraction of the effects of either exercise or calorie restriction. This will all change at some point, as biotechnology becomes ever more capable, but it seems foolish to imagine that it will happen in the next few years, given
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