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Muscle Roundup

December 14, 2012

New developments in the study of performance enhancement.



A protein that strengthens muscles. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A protein called PGC-1 alpha 4 increases strength and builds muscle in mice, according to researchers at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, reporting in the journal Cell. They also report that the protein prevented muscle wasting caused by cancer The scientists had engineered the mice to produce more PGC-1 alpha 4 in their muscle cells. Since the same protein is found in humans, they are hopeful that the work can lead to new ways to reduce muscle loss caused by old age, injury, or disease.

In other news, a report in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology states that there is no evidence that EPO doping, which elite cyclists use to gain an edge, has any benefit at all. If true, cyclists like Lance Armstrong may have sacrificed their entire careers for something that had little effect. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.