Give ’em a drug

Recent research on mice has revealed a drug that may burn fat and make you more healthy (able to run on the hamster wheel longer) even when you’re a couch potato.  And there are cases where such a drug would be potentially necessary, in particular when people suffer from joint pain or risks of heart failure and are less able to get regular exercise.  Still, it seems like a patch rather than a real rehabilitation.

There are plenty of reasons why a person might not get the exercise they need outside of adverse medical conditions – emotional, financial, educational.  Even in the case of medical reasons, I wonder if a pill like this (especially in the case of widespread use) would become a slapdash ‘cure’.  If someone who does not exercise regularly is overweight, do doctors just prescribe the pill-of-the-month?  Or do we look at the possibility of  depression, thyroid imbalance, or the lifestyle of a single mom working three part-time jobs and scarfing burgers in her 30 minute lunch breaks?  How do we analyze cause and effect?

If we are dedicated to really testing the effects of this drug over the long term, I think that’s fine.  A slow introduction to the market and use only on a highly personalized case-by-case basis I think would be beneficial.  True, lives could be saved with a drug like this.  But, for the moment, we don’t know that for certain, and I would hate to see even the possiblity of a miracle cure make us complacent.

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