Army Seeks Fountain of Youth in Body's Powerhouses
2008 02 04
By Noah Shachtman | blog.wired.com
The hip-hop world has been all a-flutter, lately, over accusations that 50 Cent and Mary J. Blige took human growth hormone, or HGH, to get big and stay youthful. Army scientists want their soldiers to stay strong and spritely, too. But they're taking a slightly different approach, in a new program for "Optimized Human Performance." Instead of HGH, the Army is looking for its fountain of youth in mitochondria -- the body's powerhouses, which turn sugars into energy.
"The modern Army is constrained by biology. Highly qualified and very experienced soldiers routinely leave the Army because they are old," a new military request for proposals complains. These long-time soldiers, alas, are finding that "their physical and/or cognitive performance capabilities are significantly less than that of a 20 year old."
The biological basis of this reduction in performance capability may be an injury, but in most cases is simply due to the reduced efficiency of old mitochondria, resulting in reduced levels of energy (adenosine triphosphate) provided to the body to power cognitive and physical tasks.
The ability to stimulate mitochondrial energy production would extend the time that soldiers remain fit for duty, boost soldier physical and performance capabilities, and expand the age range of suitable recruits. It would also eliminate the current dichotomy of the ideal soldier being optimized both for youth (high performance capabilities) and experience.
"The past twenty years have seen a revolutionary breakthrough in understanding how mitochondria function," the Army adds. And military-funded scientists have tried to take advantage of that increased knowledge, researching new ways to use mitochondria to give soldiers more strength and stamina.
Oxford University biochemists look for ways to get mitochondria to feed on fats, instead of sugars -- without all the nasty side-effects of a constant cheeseburger binge. If the scientists are successful, small rations of the ketone cuisine could boost a soldier's stamina, and maybe even keep him nourished for days at a time.
Lan Bo Chen, a pathologist at the Dan Farber Cancer Institute in Cambridge, MA, combined green tea extract with a B-vitamin cocktail for a drink boosts the overall production of mitochondria. In series of trials, high-performance cyclists saw a small, but significant, increase in their times. The Army is now testing the drink out in its Natick, MA Soldier Systems Center.
In contrast, this new Army program has much more far-reaching goals.
The world contains approximately 4.2 billion people over the age of twenty. Even a small enhancement of cognitive capacity in these individuals would probably have an impact on the world economy rivaling that of the internet.
Article from: http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/01/armys-age-retar.html
Supercharging Soldiers' Cells
Pentagon's PCs Bend to Your Brain
Squirrel = Super Soldier?
Stronger, Tougher, Faster: Building Next-Gen G.I.s
Transgressive technologies: Does a posthuman dystopia await us?
Aubrey de Grey, Artificial Intelligence, Singularity, Longevity and the Holy Grail
In A First, Scientists Develop Tiny Implantable Biocomputers
The next big bang: Man meets machine
Science's new blend mixes man and beast
Latest News from our Front Page
CIA torture is reason for France to exit NATO – Le Pen
The shocking revelations of CIA torture techniques give France a reason to exit NATO, National Front party leader Marine Le Pen said on Saturday. The report on the CIA’s former interrogation practices has drawn wide criticism since its release.
“If indeed everyone is outraged by the tortures used by the US then, let’s leave NATO,” Le Pen said during an interview ...
900 Documented Examples of Obama's Lawbreaking, Lying, Corruption, Cronyism, Hypocrisy & Waste
Editor's Note: Our friend, Dan from Squirrel Hill, has updated his list to 900 documented examples of Barack Obama¡¯s lying, lawbreaking, corruption, cronyism, etc. He began with 252 examples, then quickly grew to 504 and later to 694. Recently, he added more than 200 more examples of the usurper-in-chief¡¯s unlawful acts.
Every President, every politician, and every human being tells lies ...
A Step Closer to the Mysterious Origin of the Viking Sword Ulfberht
2014 12 16
The universe is full of mysteries that challenge our current knowledge. In "Beyond Science" Epoch Times collects stories about these strange phenomena to stimulate the imagination and open up previously undreamed of possibilities. Are they true? You decide.
Ulfberht was like a Medieval luxury brand for swords—but unlike your Gucci purse, the swords were of such high quality they were almost ...
Israel proposes natural gas pipeline to Southern Europe
Israel is pushing for the European Union (EU) to approve the construction of a pipeline running from the Middle Eastern country to supply Cyprus, Greece and Italy with natural gas. The proposed EastMed pipeline will carry gas from the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields located in the Mediterranean Sea, to Southern Europe. As the Times of Israel reported in an ...
As Robots Grow Smarter, American Workers Struggle to Keep Up
2014 12 16
A machine that administers sedatives recently began treating patients at a Seattle hospital. At a Silicon Valley hotel, a bellhop robot delivers items to people’s rooms. Last spring, a software algorithm wrote a breaking news article about an earthquake that The Los Angeles Times published.
Although fears that technology will displace jobs are at least as old as the Luddites, there ...
|More News » |