Here's a couch potato's dream: What if a drug could help you gain some of the benefits of exercise without working up a sweat?
Scientists reported Thursday that there is such a drug -- if you happen to be a mouse. Sedentary mice that took the drug for four weeks burned more calories and had less fat than untreated mice. And when tested on a treadmill, they could run about 44 percent farther and 23 percent longer than untreated mice. Just how well those results might translate to people is an open question. But, researchers say, such a drug might help treat obesity, diabetes and people with medical conditions that keep them from exercising. "We have exercise in a pill," said Ron Evans, an author of the study. "With no exercise, you can take a drug and chemically mimic it." Evans, of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, reports the work with colleagues in a paper published online Thursday by the journal Cell.