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Approved research

Predictors of muscle mass, strength and quality in mid-life and changes over time

Principal Investigator: Professor Avan Sayer
Approved Research ID: 27567
Approval date: June 25th 2018

Lay summary

Aims: Our muscles play an important role in our life during aging because by contracting they enable us to make movements or maintain the position of parts of the body, and for storage of proteins in the body As today people are living longer there are changes in muscle and joints. Numerous studies show that muscles are also important for our overall health. This is shown most clearly by the fact that weaker people tend to die at a younger ages than those who are stronger. Our main aims are to understand how the muscles work for those age 50 and above and to study the lifestyle factors that are linked to it such as diet and physical activity. Scientific rationale: As we are getting older, how do we explain that our muscles are still functioning? Why are they so important to study? Simply, muscles give our body power and strength, enable us to walk or to run, or do any movements we would like to. As we are getting older, our muscles experience decline or even loss in its three components: strength, mass, and function. This loss is known as sarcopenia. Examples of the weak muscle can be easily seen in our daily activities, like difficulties in walking or weakness in standing, or falls. In UK, the economic costs (such as fees for hospital, medications, and doctors) because of falls only, was estimated at about £ 2.3 billion a year. Therefore, it is important for us to study the factors that are linked to sarcopenia and this will help us to develop effective programs for treatment and to identify those who are at most risk. Project duration: The project will run for 12 months, which include writing 2 papers for scientific journals. Public health impact: We believe that our work will help health care professionals (such as doctors, nurses and therapists) to recognise those who are at greatest risk of developing sarcopenia in the future so that treatments to reduce loss of strength, mass and function can be started. There would be many benefits to reducing the number of cases of sarcopenia, including reduced hospital admissions from falls (which will reduce the economic costs of sarcopenia) and increased quality of life.