T Nation

Muscle-Fatigue

Vague but interesting:

http://technology.newscientist.com/article/dn14771-invention-musclefatigue-blocker.html?DCMP=ILC-hmts&nsref=news2_head_dn14771

discuss.

When the only evidence cited is a patent application, a high percentage of the time the science is junk.

One can say whatever one wants in a patent application. Whether claims are true or not generally will be an issue only if the patent becomes involved in a lawsuit.

I find the idea to have what I’d call an inherent quite high degree of dubiousness to it.

For it to be valid, it requires that nature just could not ever find a way to “stabilize” the ryanodine receptors even though, supposedly, it would be such an advantageous thing to do so.

In contrast it seems a lot more likely to me that muscles have evolved to do as they do in this regard because it offers an advantage to do just as they do.

It is a bit unconvincing without trial results. At the same time though, there are many things about our physiology that are not “optimal” so to speak.

It would exciting it if turned out to be true though.

Well, there are things such as that primates have a genetic defect that has never been able to be corrected with regard to being able to synthesize Vitamin C. But, the mutation that caused that problem may be (I don’t know the details) so severe – so many base pairs missing – that it’s just been too much to happen for chance mutation ever correcting the problem. The fact is almost all of our basic biochemical pathways go all the way back to bacteria and are not “invented” by mammals, and so if too severely damaged it may not be surprising that they sometimes cannot be “reinvented.”

And there are things which for a given individual’s purpose may not be optimal, but over time for increased reproduction of the individual and group, actually are beneficial.

E.g., in most primitive situations it seems it does not aid survival and reproduction to be “hyuuuge” as this results in consuming too much food without, for the most part, corresponding increase in amount of food that can be obtained and apparently without other benefits great enough to overcome that and perhaps other disadvantages.

But for a given individual’s desires or needs today, sure, it’s non-optimal that the body wants to return to a smaller state.

However, when the thing in question is fatiguing “too easily” and supposedly a simple fix would really result in significantly less muscular fatigue without disadvantages that would be worse than the benefit, how does it make sense that this would not have been selected for? A lot of deaths probably resulted in primitive times from having to slow down from being too tired and thus getting eaten or killed by a competing tribe or whatever.

We’re mostly in agreement. However, there are still a lot of survival adaptations in nature especially in other species that are just “good enough” for survival. Eyesight is one that’s easy to compare as it’s a pretty important survival adaptation, but there are plenty of creatures in the animal kingdom with better or worse eyesight (relative to ours) even when better eyesight might be within “evolution’s grasp”.

The problem with evolutionary theory is the amount of guesswork involved. My “guess” is that “if” we haven’t evolved a way around the problem this patent claims to fix (“if” the theory is correct) then it’s likely that it would involve a suite of mutations to adapt existing enzymes for this new purpose without disrupting the ballance of the system as a whole to the detriment of survival.

Oh, I don’t mean to imply that the argument, why didn’t nature do this already, proves the point.

It just reason to have some skepticism particularly when the only positive claims are from a patent application.

On the eyesight of animals, actually I disagree. I think it is a mistake to assume that animals with poorer eyesight would have better survival and reproductive changes if their eyesight were better.

For example, my ex-fiancee wanting to have a pet rat (actually they are great pets, the only problem being that they die much too young) and so when we were togeter I learned a lot about rats. She wound up keeping more and more, and I wound up with six myself. (Technically only one was “mine” but there were 5 of hers at my house that I took care of.)

She believed that that first rat was blind. I did not think so. I looked into it and learned that while rats are very near-sighted, they in fact can see and reasonably well up close, which is the distance of use to them. The interesting thing is it had been found that blind rats behave and function identically to sighted rats so far as the experimenters were able to determine.

In other words, their other senses are so much more valuable to them and so well developed that even being flat-out blind really is not a detectable roadblock in life for them. There must be some subtle effect, but it was too hard for the researchers to detect.

Would rats really do better with eagle vision? From what I know of rats, I think it would be utterly irrelevant to their lives. If anything it might be “too much information.”

There’s a cost to any highly developed attribute. E.g., having eyes that optically have great resolution and the retina transfers all this to the brain, if it is to be of any use at all the brain must now process a vastly increased stream of sensory data. Brain power burns a lot of energy. This is a trade-off. Will it result in getting more energy from food? Having a big head to accomodate a bigger brain, if nothing else is sacrificed to allow this processing power, reduces the number of offspring that the mother can have. Is this worth it? Or is the alternate strategy of sacrificing other functions of the brain – perhaps trading processing of odors for enhanced visual processing – worth it?

So, not so straightforward as better eyesight obviously enhancing survival and reproductive skills. For some species, yes. Eagles can get more food, probably could afford to trade off some other functions such as smell, and there’s no birth canal / litter size issue if the brain needs to be larger on account of the visual processing ability.

While fundamentally guesswork, it’s harder to see why “simply” delaying fatigue would have costs to it. But if it didn’t, then my thought is probably nature would have done it already. If it does, which I suspect it does, then what are they? Why should we assume there are no disadvantages?

That seems completely unwarranted particularly at this point, what with there being nothing to do on but a patent application.

I just took a quick look at the patent. The inventor, Andrew R. Marks, has many publications in respected journals on ryanodine receptors and calcium channels. The biology looks good to me, and his research is extensive. However, I am not a medicinal chemist, so I linked to the article that has the synthesis and structures of the small molecules he describes in this patent.

All you chemistry geeks try not to blow yourselves up, allright???

Yeah, this invention would allow sprinters to theoretically break the 40 second 400 meter barrier…

but at the cost of what? I’m with bill in terms of nature providing a limit to fatigue for the purposes of self preservation.

I’d be curious to see the human trials and results.

Of which there are none cited in the patent application.

[quote]Maximillian wrote:

I’d be curious to see the human trials and results.
[/quote]

This “invention” is the discovery of an academic laboratory. In order to bring a drug to clinical trials, academic scientists usually partner up with a Biotech or pharmaceutical company that has a vested interest in the drug, and the technical resources to scale up chemical synthesis, the professional administrative resources to legally oversee the process, the medical resources to administer the drug to the participants, and the computer resources to collect the data and crunch the numbers for statistical significance.

It takes millions of dollars and an average of 8 years to bring a drug to market (with FDA approval). Unless there is a good return expected, an investor won’t touch it.

Bill,

I’ve heard that rats can be very charismatic and I’ve thought of keeping one as a pet before. Maybe when I move to another apartment.

On a seperate note I think the case is looking a bit better for this “discovery”. I think it’s possible that even if there is some good evolutionary reason that this adaptation has not occured (such as hazardous intermediate mutations or an unbalancing of the system) a treatment may be able to sidestep these obstacles if they exist (maybe). The other possibility is that even in the immense time during which evolution has taken place until present, not enough time has passed, or not enough evolutionary pressure has brought forth this specific adaptation.

Too bad we might have to wait 8 years or more to find out.

[quote]Yo Momma wrote:
Maximillian wrote:

I’d be curious to see the human trials and results.

This “invention” is the discovery of an academic laboratory. In order to bring a drug to clinical trials, academic scientists usually partner up with a Biotech or pharmaceutical company that has a vested interest in the drug, and the technical resources to scale up chemical synthesis, the professional administrative resources to legally oversee the process, the medical resources to administer the drug to the participants, and the computer resources to collect the data and crunch the numbers for statistical significance.

It takes millions of dollars and an average of 8 years to bring a drug to market (with FDA approval). Unless there is a good return expected, an investor won’t touch it.
[/quote]

That’s what I meant, the future.

Obviously no company would want it since the drug is not for the average american. The military would be an interested party in something like this though.