JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Sarcopenia

Richard Dodds, Avan Aihie Sayer
Arquivos Brasileiros de Endocrinologia e Metabologia 2014, 58 (5): 464-9
25166036
Sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass and function with age, is highly relevant to clinical practice as it has been associated with a wide range of ageing outcomes including disability and shorter survival times. As such it is now a major focus for research and drug discovery. There has been recent progress in the development of consensus definitions for the diagnosis of sarcopenia, taking the form of measurements of muscle mass and strength or physical performance. These definitions form potential inclusion criteria for use in trials, although the optimum choice of outcome measures is less clear. Prevalence estimates using these new definitions vary, although they suggest that sarcopenia is a common (approximately 13% from one study) clinical problem in older people. A range of lifestyle factors have been investigated in regard to the development of this condition, and progressive resistance training is the most well-established intervention so far. There is also marked research interest in the role of diet, although so far the value of supplementation is less clear. Other potential treatments for sarcopenia include the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, with some evidence that they can improve physical performance in older people. Future research directions include an increased understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of sarcopenia and the use of a life course approach to explore the possibility of earlier intervention and prevention.

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