Computer Science

Earth Science









Sign-up for FTK Bulletin


Pill to Beat Aging

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- As we age, it's natural for our bodies to weaken and become frail, but the natural progression can limit physical activities in the elderly. A new drug is being touted as an anti-frailty pill.

You need Flash Player 8 or higher to view video content with the ROO Flash Player. Click here to download and install it.

Jack Gwaltney keeps active training his dog Ajax, but admits aging has taken a toll on his body.

"I am fortunate that I do almost everything that I could do, but I don't do it as well," Gwaltney told Ivanhoe.

As we get older, we lose muscle mass, mainly in the arms and legs. Endocrinologists say it can limit activities for seniors and cause frailty.

"By the time you've reached the age of 70, the average loss of muscle is about 6 kilograms, which is over 12 pounds," Michael Thorner, M.D., an endocrinologist at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, Va., told Ivanhoe.

A new drug called MK-677 has been shown to increase 20 percent of the lost muscle mass that occurs between mid-puberty and age 70 -- a significant boost in muscle.

"There were changes in body composition that far exceeded what I had expected," Dr. Thorner said.

The drug works by mimicking and stimulating the body's natural growth hormone, restoring hormone levels to those found in healthy 20- to 30-year-olds. The hormones help fuel muscle growth, which may help improve activity levels.

"I think that it may be able to enable people to remain independent for longer," Dr. Thorner said.

That's something Gwaltney hopes for himself lasts a long time.

"I'd like to be able to take care of the yard and drive the car, and very important, I want to continue training my dogs," Gwaltney said.

Gwaltney took the drug and felt its effects.

"What I felt like was I did have an improvement in my strength as far as getting out of a chair, walking and so forth," Gwaltney added.

The drug research was a proof-of-concept study that sets the stage for a larger and longer clinical trial to assess its long-term safety. Researchers are hopeful the drug will go on to larger clinical trials for FDA approval. No serious side effects from the drug were reported, but longer-term studies need to be completed.

Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:

Michael Thorner
Charlottesville, Virginia

This Month's TV Reports
Farming for Fuel

Each year America uses 180 billion gallons of oil to fuel our cars and trucks. Farmers may have the answer to the problem by turning their waste into fuel.


Prosthetics That Grow

An implant grows as children with bone cancer grow. It’s saving their limbs without surgery.


Doppler Radar Tracking Babies

SIDS -- it’s the number one cause of death before age one. Now a new baby monitor may keep a watchful eye on little ones as they sleep.


Autism: Diagnosing Brothers & Sisters

One in 20 children are diagnosed with autism. Now a new test helps reveal if their siblings will get it.


Diagnosis: Brain Injury

A new test reveals brain damage when other tests fail.


Global Warming Causes Kidney Stones

Where you live could cause kidney stones. Do you live in the Kidney Stone Belt of America?


Dolphins, Bats & Scientists Help The Blind

Scientists are looking to nature to help the blind. A new device can help the visually impaired detect objects in their way through sound, not sight.


Pimp My Program: Help for the Disabled

Just like you can customize your car … now a new computer program can customize your PC.


Fountain of Youth for Your Brain

Research shows that once we turn 25, our brains slow production of chemicals linked to memory. Now there’s a new supplement that helps keep your memory sharp.


Pill to Beat Aging

An anti-frailty pill helps seniors stay healthy, longer.


Finding Lost Hikers

Each year more than 2,000 people get lost on hikes. New methods in math are helping rescuers find them faster.


Dig It! The Secrets of Soil

It’s a science destination with a dirty little secret! We take you inside an exhibit aimed to change the way you think about dirt.


Prior Reports
A joint production of Ivanhoe Broadcast News and the American Institute of Physics.
  Ivanhoe Broadcast News
2745 West Fairbanks Avenue
Winter Park, Florida 32789
(407) 740-0789

American Institute of Physics
One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 19740-3843
(301) 209-3100
  P.O. Box 865
Orlando, Florida 32802
  © 2009 Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.