Research Consortium Muscle Wasting (Sarcopenia) and Osteoporosis – Consequences of impaired tissue regeneration in the elderly
Age-associated muscle wasting, sarcopenia, is an increasing problem with a high socioeconomic burden. Sarcopenia is a complex disease, based on genetic predisposition, immobile life style and lack of exercise and it is supported by underlying diseases. Sarcopenia also supports other musculoskeletal diseases like osteoporosis. Discrete symptoms may develop as early as in the 5th and 6th deceade of life. Sarcopenia may thus markedly contribute to altered performance and productivity when people are still active at work. In the elderly sarcopenia is an important contributor to the syndrome of frailty, which causes dependence on home care and hospitalized care in nursing homes.
Although we are well aware of the syndrome and its consequences, the organized everyday life support is still scarce due to
- lack of exact syndrome definitions
- difficulties in early diagnosis based on population wide screenings
- lack of standardized and evidence based multimodal strategies for prevention and treatment
Hence there is intensive worldwide research going on with respect to the definition, pathogenesis and treatment of sarcopenia, especially on the consented standards of clinical and technical diagnosis. Ongoing and future research is and will be dealing with age-adapted strategies for early prevention and multimodal treatment, e.g. information and exercise programs comprising also compensation of nutrition deficits in protein intake and supplementation of vitamin D. Effective management of this scenario could markedly relief the individual and financial burden of disease, foster the individual productivity while still working, maintain personal independence and enhance quality of life at any age. National and international strategies of research and development established identical goals in campaigns of “Healthy Aging”, and prevention and treatment of sarcopenia is an important part of these campaigns.
Our mission is to establish a network of internationally visible experts in sarcopenia and osteoporosis, starting in Bavaria based on funding by the Bavarian Research Foundation, and developing towards national, European and global networks of research and medical care. The added value will be preclinical and clinical expertise for standardized diagnosis as well as exercise based strategies and medical treatment. Our ultimate goal is rapid translation of evidence based knowledge into routine population wide prevention and clinical care. This research cluster will develop a high impact into both the scientific and economic development of strategies for aging societies.