Army Seeks Fountain of Youth in Body's Powerhouses
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
Netanyahu ‘spat in our face,’ White House officials said to say
The White House’s outrage over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to speak before Congress in March — a move he failed to coordinate with the administration — began to seep through the diplomatic cracks on Friday, with officials telling Haaretz the Israeli leader had “spat” in President Barack Obama’s face.
“We thought we’ve seen everything,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed senior ...
The Return of the Protected Jewish Minority in Europe
Contrary to the standard narratives of Jewish ‘history,’ a prominent feature of the historical presence of Jews in Europe has been their protected status. The common context for this status was a symbiotic relationship between the Jewish minority and exploitative or tyrannical elites. As agents of the feared elite, as foreigners, as exploiters in their own right, and with interests ...
Truth Revealed: McCain’s ‘Moderate Rebels’ in Syria ARE ISIS
Poor John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Washington’s real first couple. They only want to arm the ‘moderate opposition’ in Syria. Three years on, how come their master plan isn’t working, while ISIS has grown so strong?
Despite what media lauded as, “the largest demonstration in France’s history – bigger than liberation at the end of WWII!” (can you rightly compare the ...
European 'No-Go' Zones: Fact or Fiction?
Comment: This is an interesting article about Muslim no-go Zones in Europe. However, keep in mind that the focus in this piece is not addressing the root of the problem, but a symptom of the problem. Yes, there is an issue with large Islamic colonies in Europe today, but the article mentions nothing about who has changed the immigration laws ...
A Radical Traditionalist Critique of the Anti-Islam Movement
The terrorist attack against the staff at the magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris shook an entire continent. In a European climate in which protests against the perceived Islamization of our civilizational sphere becomes ever more widespread, showing in increased electoral success for moderate nationalist parties, as well as in expressions of mass public dissent, the recent resurgence of violent Islamic ...
|More News » |