Russia Is Restarting Stalin’s National Fitness Program

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

On March 24, Putin signed an executive order to bring back the Ready for Labor and Defense program, or GTO:

Back in the U.S.S.R., people of all ages were expected to participate in GTO. If you were 16 to 18 years old, you were enlisted in your high school’s “Strength and Courage” program, which included elements of military basic training. Not only did you run, swim, and do cross-country skiing, depending on the season, you also ran obstacle courses and practiced grenade-throwing minus grenades. Sometimes there was rifle practice, too.

Older people got off lightly but not completely. Men between the ages of 40 to 60 and women from 35 to 55 were expected to take part in the “Vigor and Health” program run by the GTO’s local branch. Driving the whole program was the quest for medals and glory amid huge pomp and ceremony. In its heyday, the GTO sponsored annual championships in towns and cities across the Soviet Union, with 37 million people taking part in 1975. The winners were feted on television and lionized in the state press.

Really, this is one of the least crazy things to come out of 20th-century totalitarianism.

How Athletes Use Caffeine

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Athletes use caffeine strategically:

In 2009, Ganio and his colleagues published a systematic review of 21 studies on caffeine in timed performance. Most of the researchers looked at subjects cycling, but some also studied running, rowing, and cross-country skiing, and most of the tests were in the 15-minute to two-hour range. Looking across all the results, Ganio found consistent improvements in performance.

The improvements can be substantial, he told me, often as much as 3 percent. To put that into context, a 3 percent improvement would mean an 18-minute boost in a 10-hour race. Eighteen minutes was all that separated the top eight finishers in both the men’s and women’s pro races at Kona.

[...]

Ganio said it is important to take the right dose, which shakes out to about three to six milligrams per kilogram of body mass. That is a lot of caffeine. An 80-kilo (176-pound) athlete taking six milligrams per kilogram would need 480 milligrams of caffeine.

“That’s four strong cups of coffee,” said Ganio. “If you can tolerate it, it seems to be the upper end of what you can have to improve performance.”

Since “cups of coffee” is a notoriously imprecise measure of caffeine, it may help to think of it this way: 480 milligrams would be six 8-ounce Red Bulls, two and a half NoDoz tablets, or two Extra Strength 5-hour Energy shots. A more moderate dose for a smaller athlete, say, a 65-kilo (143-pound) athlete taking three milligrams per kilo, is still an impressive amount of caffeine: equal to one NoDoz tablet, one 5-hour Energy shot, or two and a half Red Bulls. Even this amount of caffeine is difficult to obtain using caffeinated sodas like Coca-Cola. A 65-kilo athlete would need to chug nearly six cans of Coke at once to get a caffeine dose of three milligrams per kilogram.

Also, researchers found no evidence of dehydration from using caffeine.

Where Americans Get Enough Exercise

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Richard Florida maps out where Americans get enough exercise:

As the maps suggest, both forms of exercise are highly correlated with one another. States where people participate more in aerobic exercise also have higher levels of muscle strengthening (the correlation between the two is .81).

Also not surprisingly, states where people exercise more also have significantly lower levels of obesity and smoking, two known causes of preventable deaths. Mellander found substantial negative associations between exercise levels and obesity (-.80) and smoking (-.63).

You might think people would exercise more in warmer, sunnier states. But that’s not the case. She found a negative correlation (-.38) between yearly average temperature and exercise across the 50 states.

Exercise levels also correspond to wealth and affluence, with substantial positive correlations to both income (.65) and wages (.64). States where people exercise more are also more highly educated, with a significant correlation (.68) to the share of adults who are college graduates. And exercise levels are higher in states with more post-industrial economies, as participation was highly positively correlated with the share of knowledge, professional and creative workers (.51) and negatively correlated with the share of blue-collar workers (-.65).

Fitness participation also tracks the nation’s red/blue divide, being positively associated with the share of Obama voters (.51) and negatively associated with Romney voters (-.53). Exercise also hews closely to America’s religious divide. People in more religious states exercise less (the correlation between religiosity and exercise is -.69).

Paleo Manifesto Author John Durant

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

“When I’m talking to a libertarian,” John Durant (The Paleo Manifesto) says, “and I make the point that the USDA food pyramid is not God’s truth, they’re like, ‘Oh, right, of course it isn’t.’”:

The talk isn’t really about libertarianism — or even about the paleo diet.

Men with big muscles cut cancer risk by 40 per cent

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Lifting weights cuts cancer risk in men — by 40 per cent!

A team of experts, led by scientists from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, tracked the lifestyles of 8,677 men aged between 20 and 82 for more than two decades.

Each volunteer had regular medical check ups that included tests of their muscular strength.

Between 1980 and 2003, researchers monitored how many developed cancer and subsequently died from it.

The results showed men who regularly worked out with weights and had the highest muscle strength were between 30 and 40 per cent less likely to lose their life to a deadly tumour.

Howard Schatz’s Athlete

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Howard Schatz’s Athlete could be considered an ode to human biodiversity:

A new book of photographs of 125 champion athletes. In such uniquely visionary books as Water Dance, Pool Light, Passion and Line, and Nude Body Nude, Howard Schatz has established himself as one of the great photographers of the human form.

Howard Schatz Athletes 070-000

Working primarily with dancers, Schatz has been particularly attracted to form shaped by function. Now, in Athlete, he reaches the zenith of his photographic paean to the human body, creating an astonishing record of the specialized forms both adapted to the wide spectrum of sport and shaped by fiercely focused effort.

Howard Schatz Athletes 070-001

His subjects, as varied and meticulously documented as Audubon’s birds, literally embody the astonishing array of physical perfection required for their particular sports. With a seamless blend of art and precision, Schatz shows us the awesome upper-body power of Olympic wrestling champions, discus throwers, and football players; the lissome graces of high jumpers and rhythmic gymnasts, the shock-absorbing legs of downhill skiers, the sculptural perfection of NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens and sprinter Shawn Crawford; the compact muscularity of gymnasts Tasha Schwikert and Sean Townsend; the Giacometti-like slenderness of marathoners Tegla Loroupe and American marathon champion Deena Drossin; as well as 125 other athletes at the top of their games.

Howard Schatz Athletes 070-002

In serene portraits and intricately dissected motion photographs, Schatz gives us an unprecedented celebration of the body as divine machine, and manages at the same time to present a collective view of the human spirit at its most intense.

Howard Schatz Athletes 070-003

Many of the athletes look surprisingly unathletic, because athleticism isn’t a single trait. Each athlete is a specialist in an esoteric physical task.

Stravacide

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Strava allows runners and cyclists to share, compare, and compete using their GPS data. This kind of gamification can be a powerful motivator — too powerful for some people:

“Downhills are the easiest way to get high up on Strava. You don’t need a lot of fitness, so you can leapfrog the process. Basically, it’s a game of chicken.”

Naturally, it’s Strava’s fault when riders kills themselves — or random pedestrians — while racing down busy “segments” defined by other users.

The Most Perfect Example of the Male Human Form

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Eugen Sandow was considered the most perfect example of the male human form and served as the model in Baillière’s Popular Atlas of the Anatomy and Physiology of the Male Human Body (London, 1908):

Eugen Sandow Anatomy Diagram

Hormesis

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

The concept of hormesis — that a low dose of poison or some other stressor is good for you — makes a wonderful excuse for many vices.

Having a little too much to drink or having a cigar is good for me, as long as I don’t overdo it.

Cold showers are also good for you, if not as much fun as other stresors:

As one form of hydrotherapy, the health benefits of cold water therapy are numerous. Cold showers provide a gentle form of stress that leads to thermogenesis (internal generation of body heat), turning on the body’s adaptive repair systems to strengthen immunity, enhance pain and stress tolerance, and ward off depression, overcome chronic fatigue syndrome, stop hair loss, and stimulate anti-tumor responses.

Some people advocate starting with a warm shower, and switching over to cool or cold water only at the end of the shower. This is fine, particularly if you are afraid that a pure cold shower would just be too uncomfortable or intolerable. But I prefer just jumping right in. When you start with cold water, you will experience the phenomenon of cold shock, an involuntary response characterized by a sudden rapid breathing and increased heart rate. This in itself is very beneficial. The extent of cold shock has been shown to decrease with habituation, and exposure to colder water (10C or 50F) appears to be more effective than just cool water (15 C or 59F) in promoting habituation. The habituation itself is what is most beneficial, both objectively and subjectively. There is an analogy here with high intensity resistance exercise and interval training, both of which elevate heart rate and lead to long term adaptations to stress, with improved cardiovascular capacity and athletic performance.

But cold showers provide a different and probably complementary type of habituation to that which results from exercise. A study of winter swimmers compared them with a control group in their physiological response to being immersed in cold water: Both groups responded to cold water by thermogenesis (internal production of body heat), but the winter swimmers did so by raising their core temperature and did not shiver until much later than the controls, whereas the control subjects responded by shivering to increase their peripheral temperatures. The winter swimmers also tolerated much larger temperature differences and conserved their energy better. Other studies confirm that the benefits of habituation show up only after several weeks of cold showering. For example, adaptation to cold leads to increased output of the beneficial “short term stress” hormones adrenaline and thyroxine, leading to mobilization of fatty acids, and substantial fat loss over a 1-2 week period.

So regular cold showers, like high intensity exercise, and intermittent fasting, appear to provide similar, but not identical hormetic benefits.

I’m in no hurry to try an ice bath.

(Hat tip to our Slovenian guest.)

The Secret Race

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

The Secret Race deserves to be read alongside The Sports Gene, Malcolm Gladwell says:

“Lance and Ferrari showed me there were more variables than I’d ever imagined, and they all mattered: wattages, cadence, intervals, zones, joules, lactic acid, and, of course, hematocrit,” Hamilton writes. “Each ride was a math problem: a precisely mapped set of numbers for us to hit…. It’s one thing to go ride for six hours. It’s another to ride for six hours following a program of wattages and cadences, especially when those wattages and cadences are set to push you to the ragged edge of your abilities.”

Hematocrit, the last of those variables, was the number they cared about most. It refers to the percentage of the body’s blood that is made up of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. The higher the hematocrit, the more endurance you have. (Mäntyranta had a very high hematocrit.) The paradox of endurance sports is that an athlete can never work as hard as he wants, because if he pushes himself too far his hematocrit will fall. Hamilton had a natural hematocrit of forty-two per cent — which is on the low end of normal. By the third week of the Tour de France, he would be at thirty-six per cent, which meant a six-per-cent decrease in his power — in the force he could apply to his pedals. In a sport where power differentials of a tenth of a per cent can be decisive, this “qualifies as a deal breaker.”

For the members of the Postal Service squad, the solution was to use the hormone EPO and blood transfusions to boost their hematocrits as high as they could without raising suspicion. (Before 2000, there was no test for EPO itself, so riders were not allowed to exceed a hematocrit of fifty per cent.) Then they would add maintenance doses over time, to counteract the deterioration in their hematocrit caused by races and workouts. The procedures were precise and sophisticated. Testosterone capsules were added to the mix to aid recovery. They were referred to as “red eggs.” EPO (a.k.a. erythropoietin), a naturally occurring hormone that increases the production of red blood cells, was Edgar — short for Edgar Allan Poe. During the Tour de France, and other races, bags of each rider’s blood were collected in secret locations at predetermined intervals, then surreptitiously ferried from stage to stage in refrigerated containers for strategic transfusions. The window of vulnerability after taking a drug — the interval during which doping could be detected — was called “glowtime.” Most riders who doped (and in the Armstrong era, it now appears, nearly all the top riders did) would take two thousand units of Edgar subcutaneously every couple of days, which meant they “glowed” for a dangerously long time. Armstrong and his crew practiced microdosing, taking five hundred units of Edgar nightly and injecting the drug directly into the vein, where it was dispersed much more quickly.

“The Secret Race” is full of paragraphs like this:

The trick with getting Edgar in your vein, of course, is that you have to get it in the vein. Miss the vein — inject it in the surrounding tissue — and Edgar stays in your body far longer; you might test positive. Thus, microdosing requires a steady hand and a good sense of feel, and a lot of practice; you have to sense the tip of the needle piercing the wall of the vein, and draw back the plunger to get a little bit of blood so you know you’re in. In this, as in other things, Lance was blessed: he had veins like water mains. Mine were small, which was a recurring headache.

Hamilton was eventually caught and was suspended from professional cycling. He became one of the first in his circle to implicate Lance Armstrong, testifying before federal investigators and appearing on “60 Minutes.” He says that he regrets his years of using performance-enhancing drugs. The lies and duplicity became an unbearable burden. His marriage fell apart. He sank into a depression. His book is supposed to serve as his apology. At that task, it fails. Try as he might — and sometimes he doesn’t seem to be trying very hard — Hamilton cannot explain why a sport that has no problem with the voluntary induction of anorexia as a performance-enhancing measure is so upset about athletes infusing themselves with their own blood.

“Dope is not really a magical boost as much as it is a way to control against declines,” Hamilton writes. Doping meant that cyclists finally could train as hard as they wanted. It was the means by which pudgy underdogs could compete with natural wonders. “People think doping is for lazy people who want to avoid hard work,” Hamilton writes. For many riders, the opposite was true:

EPO granted the ability to suffer more; to push yourself farther and harder than you’d ever imagined, in both training and racing. It rewarded precisely what I was good at: having a great work ethic, pushing myself to the limit and past it. I felt almost giddy: this was a new landscape. I began to see races differently. They weren’t rolls of the genetic dice, or who happened to be on form that day. They didn’t depend on who you were. They depended on what you did — how hard you worked, how attentive and professional you were in your preparation.

The Science of Trips and Falls

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Shirley S. Wang reports on the science of trips and falls:

The body has three main systems that help us stay balanced. The visual system takes in information from the outside world and transmits it to the brain. The proprioceptive system, which incorporates sensory systems throughout the body, tells us how the body’s parts are oriented relative to each other. And the vestibular system, located in the inner ear, focuses primarily on how the head is moving. Generally, if at least two of these systems are impaired, people tend to have trouble with balance.

As people age, the vestibular system becomes less sensitive. Instead, individuals tend to rely more on their vision, which is relatively slow compared with the vestibular system. As a result, older people don’t process information as quickly to correct for missteps, Dr. Cullen says.

[...]

After a fall, older people often say they tripped or slipped. Researchers at Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, British Columbia, wanted to observe what really happens. The team outfitted a long-term-care facility with video cameras and recorded residents going about their daily lives. They recorded 227 falls from 130 individuals over about three years. Tripping caused just 1 out of 5 of the incidents. The biggest reason for falling—accounting for 41% of the total—was due to incorrect weight shifting, like leaning over too far, says Stephen Robinovitch, a professor in the biomedical physiology and kinesiology and engineering science departments. Other, less frequent reasons for falling included loss of support with an external object, like a walker, or bumping into something.

Devalued in the Military

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Walter E. Williams shares some statistics on women in the military:

The “USMA report on the Integration and Performance of Women at West Point”, cited by Mackubin Thomas Owens, in Proceedings (July 1998) reveals sex-norming schemes whereby women receive A grades for the same performance that earns a man a D. Navy women pass physical readiness tests by performing 11% fewer sit-ups, 53% fewer push-ups, and running 1.5 miles 27% slower than men. The Marine Corps discovered that only 45% of female Marines could toss a hand grenade beyond its burst radius; one Army study reported only 12% could. Navy studies show that only 12% of women can accomplish the two-person stretcher carry, a requirement critical to ship security. Women may be able to drive a five-ton truck, but need a man’s help if they must change a tire. Women can fire field artillery pieces but often can’t handle the ammunition.

Senator Olympia Snowe (R.ME) says, “Every time a woman is excluded from a position [in the military], she is devalued.” That’s the kind of stupid thinking that ignores important physical and psychological sex differences and has compromised our military readiness. A partial listing of those differences include: the average female soldier is five inches shorter than her male counter-part, has half the upper body strength, has significantly lower aerobic capacity (at her physical peak, ages 20 to 30, the average woman has the aerobic capacity of a 50-year-old male), and 37% less muscle mass. Women have a much lighter skeleton that means, among other things, she can’t pull G forces as well as men and is at greater risk of skeletal injuries.

Women soldiers are four times more likely to report ill. The percentage of women being medically non-available at any time is twice that of male soldiers. Then there’s pregnancy. Each year, between 10 and 17 percent of servicewomen become pregnant. In certain posts the rate is higher. In 1988, James Webb, Secretary of the Navy, said 51% of single Air Force and 48% of single Navy women stationed in Iceland were pregnant. During troop deployment in Bosnia, between December 1995 and July 1996, a woman had to be evacuated due to pregnancy every three days. These and other factors mean that women suffer a higher rate of attrition than men and because of the turnover they are not as profitable training investments.

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of military social engineering is official coverup of failure. Officers who criticize double standards or expose official lies and deception, risk their careers.

Weapons Man points out that Williams’ piece is from 1998.

Building the New Super Athlete

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Building the new super athlete means more than building the athlete’s body:

Nick Podesta was the nation’s top-ranked 16-and-under tennis player when injuries forced him to take time off from the tournament circuit. Like just about any tennis phenom capable of overwhelming with big ground strokes, he was occasionally tripped up by lapses in concentration and focus. Gordon Uehling, his coach and mentor, decided to plug Podesta into a neuro-feedback machine to see if he could train Nick’s brain to be better at tennis.

Podesta now makes an extra weekly trip to CourtSense, Uehling’s Tenafly, New Jersey headquarters, to plug into the Neurotopia machine, the first such system on the East Coast. This morning, he checks into a quiet, windowless room, settles into a cushy Barcalounger-type recliner, gets a number of electrical leads attached to his scalp, and plays a video game with his brain.

As Nick stares at the monitor screen on the wall directly in front of him, the computer registers the brain waves emanating from certain key neural regions. If there is a subtle increase in the higher-frequency beta waves, indicating a lively mental focus, the computer rewards him. The pink rocket ship on the screen billows smoke from its exhaust pipe, the music volume increases, and the screen brightens, creating a pleasing illusion of forward motion and good times in outer space. If he’s in the lower theta frequencies, suggesting Nick has tuned out, the screen grows dim and quiet, no rocket smoke. “It’s like a stethoscope to the brain,” Uehling says from an adjoining room. Uehling’s own brain is in full multitasking mode. He’s observing Podesta’s session on two monitors, one with the unfolding video game on it, one with real-time brain-wave analysis, and at the same time he’s watching, via a laptop connection, the progress of another protégé, Christina McHale, No. 63 in the world, who is playing a tournament match in Rome, tuning up for the French Open.

The goal behind all the fancy Neurotopia electronics is something the neuroscientists like to call “self-regulation.” This is the idea that using basic behavioral conditioning techniques — a positive stimulus for the “right” response, a negative stimulus for the “wrong one” — you can train your brain to influence physiological processes that we normally think are beyond, or below, conscious control: body temperature, heart rate, or, in this case, brain waves, the patterns neurons make when they fire as a group.

The Neurotopia system draws on what the San Luis Obispo, California, start-up company’s chief science officer Leslie Sherlin calls a “brain bank.” Sherlin is a neuroscientist, who has studied the brain waves of pro-sports teams — the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners, as well as elite, Red Bull-sponsored athletes in individual sports. He’s got in his bank about 1,200 brains, that is, their EEG readouts when performing sports-related tasks. This information is fed into the computer to become the gold-standard algorithms that Neurotopia trains clients to approximate when they play the video games. Sherlin and his tech staff hooked up top golfer Rickie Fowler on the putting green as one of their reference brains. As Fowler sank putts, the electric leads attached to his head sent his brain-wave data to the Neurotopia team’s three laptops arrayed around the green.

Sherlin found distinct patterns in the way the top pros were able to toggle back and forth between focusing on the task and then, at the moment of truth — in this case Fowler swinging the putter — relaxing into an open mental state. That’s a skill that doesn’t show up in the brain scans of even a scratch club player. “I don’t want to stand on a pedestal and say we’ve figured it all out,” Sherlin says, “because this data is still anecdotal. But definitely, the elite perform differently, even if the nonelite is really good.”

If Neurotopia has not yet arrived at the final portrait of the perfect brain orchestrating the perfect putt or home-run swing, the system is good enough to have been embraced by the likes of Nascar racer and all-around motor-sports stud Travis Pastrana, Olympic beach volleyball heroines Kerri Walsh and Misty Mae Trainer, and Mike Bryan, of the Bryan brothers men’s doubles tennis juggernaut. And, for his part, Nick Podesta is keen.

During a match, he says, he now finds it easier to maintain his concentration — in Neurotopia-speak, his “focus endurance.” If the match isn’t going well, if the weather conditions are bad or the line calls are going against him, he taps into another Neurotopia training, “stress recovery,” a kind of Zen letting-go empowered by a decrease in “mind chatter.” “I’m physically pumped up, running down balls,” he says. “But my mind is able to stay relaxed, in the moment. I’m not overthinking.”

The future of brain training in sport may take us to stranger places than Sherlin might care to imagine. Over the past few years, Johns Hopkins’ Dr. Pablo Celnik has done a handful of landmark studies demonstrating that techniques like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), emerging depression therapies, can also improve the way healthy people learn and retain “motor behaviors.” He’s currently working with the Air Force to see if brain stimulation can enhance pilots’ ability to perform physically in challenging, fast-moving environments. “Someone may be able to practice with a stimulator on their head, and they will perform better,” Celnik says. “Then, when the Olympics comes around, he doesn’t need to have it on his head anymore. You cannot trace it. So yes, in a way, this would be 21st-century doping.”

Testosterone spikes in non-competitive activities

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Researchers studying an isolated group of forager-farmers in central Bolivia, the Tsimane, found that their men had relatively low baseline testosterone levels — one-third lower than American men — but that their testosterone spiked during physical competition, like a soccer game.

Actually, their testosterone levels spike with any physically demanding activity:

According to Trumble, whose research lies at the intersection of hormones, behavior, and the environment, testosterone levels are closely related to the availability of food energy. When young men skip even a single meal, their testosterone levels can drop as much as 10 percent. Fast for a couple of days, and they decrease to castrate levels.

“The same is true for infection,” he added. “An infection from a pathogen or parasite — even injuries, burns, or surgery — all cause an immediate decrease in testosterone.”

The body uses food energy for a number of critical processes. Among them are building muscle mass and maintaining proper immune function. When food energy is limited, the body has to choose between one and the other. For populations in industrialized countries like the United States, there isn’t much of a tradeoff,” Trumble said. “I can go to the grocery store and gather 20,000 calories in 10 minutes without breaking a sweat. I don’t have to worry about a deficit.”

However, for a group such as the Tsimane, who are more physically active than most Americans — and use a lot more food energy — but also have to grow, hunt, or fish for the vast majority of the calories they consume, the tradeoff is much greater. In addition, the Tsimane’s regular exposure to pathogens and parasites requires additional calories for maintaining necessary immune function.

Previous studies by Trumble, Gurven, and others have demonstrated that competitive activity — such as soccer — causes a short-term spike in testosterone. “Past research has mostly focused on the role of testosterone in aggressive competition,” Trumble said. “Given the important of testosterone in supplying energy to muscles, we wanted to look at how testosterone changes during another vital part of Tsimane life — food production.” He and the research team collected saliva specimens from Tsimane men before and after an hour of tree chopping, just as previous studies had examined saliva specimens taken from Tsimane men immediately before and after an hour of soccer. “With soccer, we saw a 30.1 percent increase in testosterone,” Trumble said. “With chopping, we saw a 46.8 percent increase. It was significantly greater.”

The acute spike in testosterone increases the muscle’s ability to take in blood sugar, which, in turn, enhances soccer performance and reaction times. It turns out the same is true for tree chopping. “If you’re better able to pull blood sugar into your muscle tissue, and better able to use that energy, you’ll be able to chop more trees,” Trumble explained.

While Tsimane men have a relatively low baseline testosterone level — 33 percent lower than that of men living in the United States, where life is less physically demanding — they appear to maintain their testosterone levels over the course of their lives. This is contrary to the United States and other industrialized populations, where men generally experience decreases in testosterone as they age.

Drug Mimics Endurance Training

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

A drug candidate developed at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), SR9009, mimics endurance training:

The compounds work by binding to one of the body’s natural molecules called Rev-erb?, which influences lipid and glucose metabolism in the liver, the production of fat-storing cells and the response of macrophages (cells that remove dying or dead cells) during inflammation.

In the new study, a team led by scientists at the Institut Pasteur de Lille in France demonstrated that mice lacking Rev-erb? had decreased skeletal muscle metabolic activity and running capacity. Burris’ group showed that activation of Rev-erb? with SR9009 led to increased metabolic activity in skeletal muscle in both culture and in mice. The treated mice had a 50 percent increase in running capacity, measured by both time and distance.