I, for one...
...welcome our new old and infirm musclebound overlords.
"The findings are also expected to prove useful in fighting muscle loss due to old age and illness."
An international boffinry alliance, by means of sending a huge colony of worms found scoffing rotting vegetables in a Bristol rubbish dump on a trip to the International Space Station, has found a cure for the muscle wasting suffered by astronauts living in zero/micro gravity. The worms in question were of the species …
El Reg regularly, and appropriately, questions over-hyping of all sorts of stories in the press. So...
Cure? Not even close. This is an interesting experiment the demonstrates that a 1mm long worm containing less than 1000 cells (959 to be exact in the wild type) can be treated with chunks of RNA so that it reduces the expression of proteins involved in muscle loss. This was just a demonstration, a long long way from a "cure". The scientists themselves wrote "suggesting RNAi may provide an effective tool for combating spaceflight-induced pathologies aboard future long-duration space missions."
And to continue the pedantry, C elegans does not eat rotting vegetables, it eats soil bacteria, often found in large concentrations around rotting veg.
OK, this is not the end of the world but please don't confuse "may provide an effective tool" with "cure".
@"see if RNA interference therapy (RNAi) could be used to fight the serious loss of muscle"
I wonder what would happen if say an athlete were treated with this therapy? Would they (statistically speaking) retain more muscle than they normally would in a normal human?
Because this kind of therapy would certainly make drug testing a lot harder to detect in any kind of chemical enhanced style cheating in sports.
Anyway it sounds like this could also potentially really help long term bed ridden patents and perhaps even the elderly to reduce their muscle loss as well.
I wonder what it does for couch potatos and computer operators stuck at their desk all day. :)
"Because this kind of therapy would certainly make drug testing a lot harder to detect in any kind of chemical enhanced style cheating in sports."
Sports? Who cares!
Why is it that the first thing people think about is sports. This research has so many other more noble applications than giving some rich meat-head who runs around a paddock even more muscle mass.
As you noted, the frail, bed ridden and elderly would be the best target of this research to improve their quality of life, and mobility.
Could this same technology also be used to prevent muscle wastage in desk-bound IT workers? Normally we're all at the pinnacle of fitness, but sometimes when projects are running late, we just don't have time to flex at the gym.
Just wait til the "pro-active" yoghurt marketeers get wind of this.
Since it was jointly funded, why wouldn't the Americans (and the Japanese - who did a lot of the research) get a share?
"The experiment was part of the Japanese CERISE payload and funded by the US National Institute of Health and the UK Medical Research Council. Japanese scientists contributed much of the research. "
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