Well that heading is just to promote some interest, but to be honest it does have something to do with this post. I spotted this bit of research reported yesterday, about how muscles get the signal to grow. Developing and retaining muscle is not just an issue for bodybuilders or athletes, it is essential to health as we grow old.
The story in EurekaAlert explains:
We take it for granted, but the fact that our muscles grow when we work them makes them rather unique. Now, researchers have identified a key ingredient needed for that bulking up to take place. A factor produced in working muscle fibers apparently tells surrounding muscle stem cell "higher ups" that it's time to multiply and join in, according to a study in the January Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press journal.
The research identifies this factor as "serum response factor (Srf)" which translates the mechanical signal of work into a chemical one.
Srf works through a network of genes, including one known as Cox2. That raises the intriguing possibility that commonly used Cox2 inhibitors—think ibuprofen—might work against muscle growth or recovery, Sotiropoulos notes.
The research is available here