Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Muscle: ‘hard to build, easy to lose’ as you age

15.09.2009
Have you ever noticed that people have thinner arms and legs as they get older?

As we age it becomes harder to keep our muscles healthy. They get smaller, which decreases strength and increases the likelihood of falls and fractures. New research is showing how this happens — and what to do about it.

A team of Nottingham researchers has already shown that when older people eat, they cannot make muscle as fast as the young. Now they’ve found that the suppression of muscle breakdown, which also happens during feeding, is blunted with age.

The scientists and doctors at The University of Nottingham Schools of Graduate Entry Medicine and Biomedical Sciences believe that a ‘double whammy’ affects people aged over 65. However the team think that weight training may “rejuvenate” muscle blood flow and help retain muscle for older people.

These results may explain the ongoing loss of muscle in older people: when they eat they don’t build enough muscle with the protein in food; also, the insulin (a hormone released during a meal) fails to shut down the muscle breakdown that rises between meals and overnight. Normally, in young people, insulin acts to slow muscle breakdown. Common to these problems may be a failure to deliver nutrients and hormones to muscle because of a poorer blood supply.

The work has been done by Michael Rennie, Professor of Clinical Physiology, and Dr Emilie Wilkes, and their colleagues at The University of Nottingham. The research was funded by the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) as part of ongoing work on age-related muscle wasting and how to lessen that effect.

Research just published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared one group of people in their late 60s to a group of 25-year-olds, with equal numbers of men and women. Professor Rennie said “We studied our subjects first — before breakfast — and then after giving them a small amount of insulin to raise the hormone to what they would be if they had eaten breakfast, of a bowl of cornflakes or a croissant.”

“We tagged one of the amino acids (from which proteins are made) so that we could discover how much protein in leg muscle was being broken down. We then compared how much amino acid was delivered to the leg and how much was leaving it, by analysing blood in the two situations.

“The results were clear. The younger people’s muscles were able to use insulin we gave to stop the muscle breakdown, which had increased during the night. The muscles in the older people could not.”

“In the course of our tests, we also noticed that the blood flow in the leg was greater in the younger people than the older ones,” added Professor Rennie. “This set us thinking: maybe the rate of supply of nutrients and hormones is lower in the older people? This could explain the wasting we see.”

Following this up led Beth Phillips, a PhD student working with Professor Rennie, to win the Blue Riband Award for work she presented at the summer meeting of The Physiological Society in Dublin. In her research Beth confirmed the blunting effect of age on leg blood flow after feeding, with and without exercise. The team predicted that weight training would reduce this blunting. “Indeed, she found that three sessions a week over 20 weeks ‘rejuvenated’ the leg blood flow responses of the older people. They became identical to those in the young,” said Professor Rennie.

“I am extremely pleased with progress,” he said. “Our team is making good headway in finding more and more out about what causes the loss of muscle with age. It looks like we have good clues about how to lessen it with weight training and possibly other ways to increase blood flow.”

Professor Michael Rennie | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>