How do you get your husband, wife or mom to exercise? These
seem like reasonable quandaries.
If you are very fitness focused, it is normal to wish everyone around you could experience the endorphin high you experience. But some people, namely Robert Wessells, PhD puts fruit
flies through rigorous exercise just to see how their bodies respond to the
Wessells, a University of Michigan Professor in Geriatrics
is hoping to uncover clues from his studies that can apply to making us humans
live healthier and longer lives.
His study recently received a $400,000.00 grant from the Nationals Heart, Lung
and Blood Institute. Wessells
hopes that his research will provide us with information to design genetic or
pharmacological mimics of all that exercise positively offers the body. This is valuable for those who have aged
beyond the ability to engage in rigorous exercise, or suffer from advanced
stages of various illnesses.
So I wonder what these little fruit flies are doing?
They are contained in test tubes. Every 20 seconds a motorized arm trips a lever that causes
the flies to be knocked to the bottom.
When they fall to the bottom they rush back up to the top. They simply do it over and over
again. Since they are all little
clones of each other their genetic makeup can be more easily studied. Sounds intense to me and
stressful. Glad the
flies have to do this and not someone I know.
Wessells experiments have demonstrated that flies who have
done regular exercise throughout their life, show lots of vigor when they are
at the elderly stage of their life.
I find this comforting, I would like be a grandmother that still boxes,
jumps rope and plays baseball.