Six Pills That Might Change Your Life
By Stuart Fox / Source: Popular Science
In the not-so-distant
future, these six drugs -- already in the works -- will change how we
live, and even how we die.
researchers have only tested the vaccine with melanoma and the treatment
still requires that the cancer fighting immune cells are altered in the
lab and then returned to the body. However, once researchers figure out
how to change the immune cells in vivo, it would only take a pill or a
shot to get the body killing cancer for itself.
With Viagra topping the charts as the highest selling drug of all time, it’s obvious that in the pharmaceutical world, as in the rest of the world, sex sells. With that established, a male birth control pill could be the brass ring of the pharmaceutical world.
Yet, despite recent advances in both hormone related pills that affect sperm production and medication that prevents ejaculation, the pill remains elusive. Furthermore, the endeavor has been plagued both by technical problems, like a high non-response rate, and social problems: some believe men will just tell women they are on the pill without actually taking it.
Now that advances in understanding the neuroscience of addiction have shown alcoholism and drug abuse to be more of a disease than a personal weakness, drug companies are looking for a way to treat addiction as pathology like any other.
While some progress has been made treating alcoholism and opiate addiction specifically, researchers hope to develop a pill that treats all addictive impulses, whether for a particular substance of an activity like gambling or sex. Research has focused on dealing with the neurotransmitter dopamine and its natural inhibitor, GABA. Dopamine is one of the chemicals that conveys pleasure, and doctors hope that by inhibiting dopamine, they can take the pleasure out of the addicted behavior, thus ending it.
Why spend the time and money on a gym membership when you can just pop a pill? An obvious future bestseller (and possibly the final fulfillment of the American dream), the pill that mimics exercise has been under development for some time.
Developed at the Salk Institute in California, the pill caused sedentary mice to burn fat no matter how lazy they were. This pill would be for more than vanity, though, as obesity has grown into one of America’s biggest public health problems. A pill like this could both help the healthcare system and get you the six pack abs you want without having to step foot in a gym.
It used to be that if you wanted to stay young forever you’d either have to hide a painting of yourself in attic or putz around Florida looking for a fountain. Now, clinical trials are underway on a pill that halts or even reverses the signs of aging.
Based on a chemical in wine called resveratrol, the pills activate the gene believe to be responsible for the anti-aging affects associated with calorie restriction diets. Stimulation of the gene has been shown to increase the life of fruit flies and lab rats, and there is hope that the pill can have the same affect in humans.
Can’t remember where you left your keys? Well, medicine is trying to make sure you never forget again. Researchers are working on a new class of medicine that boosts the neurotransmitters responsible for forming long-term memory.
Originally designed to help Alzheimer’s patients and the mentally disabled, some fear that these pills will turn into the academic equivalent of steroids. With Ritalin and other anti-ADHD medications already widely abused as study aids, it would be a natural step for students to take these pills by the handful every finals week.
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