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Approved research

A cross-sectional exploration of the factors contributing to the development of sarcopenia

Principal Investigator: Professor Ailsa Welch
Approved Research ID: 11058
Approval date: May 11th 2015

Lay summary

Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass, strength and function with aging, leading to disability and frailty. This project aims to explore three questions in cross-sectional analyses: 1. What is the prevalence of low skeletal muscle mass (fat-free mass) and muscle strength in the population? 2. What is the body composition and grip strength of the population and what lifestyle activities and disease conditions might influence fat free mass and strength? 3. What dietary factors influence low fat free mass and muscle strength? This research aims to improve our understanding of the factors leading to the development of sarcopenia which are poorly understood. The Biobank data offers the opportunity to investigate this issue. By understanding the prevalence, as well as lifestyle, disease and nutritional factors that relate to loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength, we will be better able to prevent and treat sarcopenia. This fulfils the purpose of the UK Biobank which is ?to support a diverse range of research intended to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness, and the promotion of health throughout society?. The researchers will use baseline data from Biobank to explore the 3 questions outlined above. We plan to understand the prevalence of low skeletal muscle mass (as fat-free mass) and strength in the population. We also plan to find out what lifestyle, diet and other factors might affect fat free mass and strength. Will use standard statistical analysis methods to do this work. The researchers will be based at the University of East Anglia and Plymouth University, Plymouth. We plan to investigate questions 1 and 2 about low skeletal muscle mass (fat-free mass) muscle strength on the full cohort. For question 3, relating diet to fat-free mass and muscle strength, we plan to use the subset with dietary information available.