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Why older people experience muscle loss

Study shows reinnervation of muscle fibres does not expand motor unit size in those with sarcopenia
Older man with walking frame

Study shows reinnervation of muscle fibres does not expand motor unit size in those with sarcopenia

As people grow older leg muscles become smaller and weaker, leading to frailty and disability.

Of those aged over 65, 10%–20% have sarcopenia: a loss of muscle mass and strength measured by grip strength and speed of walking. These people are at risk of social isolation, bone fracture, disability and hospital admission. Sarcopenia is associated with a reduction in the number of motor cells innervating limb muscles.

By the age of 75, individuals typically have 30%–50% fewer nerves controlling their legs. This leaves parts of their muscles disconnected from the nervous system, making them functionally useless so they waste away. Healthy muscles have a form of protection in that surviving nerves can

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