Lessons from the FNIH-NIA-FDA sarcopenia consensus summit

A recent article published in Nature on the FNIH-NIA-FDA Sarcopenia Consensus Summit, which was held in May 2012, gives a hint of the information that FNIH will share with the health and research communities upon the highly anticipated publication of the meeting proceedings and manuscripts early next year.

The summit, which is part of the FNIH public-private Biomarkers Consortium biomedical research partnership, focused extensively on the question of disparities between muscle mass and muscle function, as well as the need for a “gold standard” to define and measure sarcopenia that will be usable and relevant for clinicians treating aging patients. The summit also included several presentations of key findings and new, leading research around sarcopenia, which the article lists.

The article itself, written by Dr. Marco Brotto offers some of the issues around sarcopenia that were discussed and presented at the summit. “The gain in strength following exercise training far exceeds the gain in muscle mass,” Brotto writes, “suggesting that intrinsic adaptations to muscle can overcome its size limitations. Understanding these intrinsic mechanisms could lead to new treatments for sarcopenia and other muscle diseases.” He continues:

A feasible explanation for the disparity between mass and function is that
other adaptations occur in muscle cells. It is possible that in some
individuals the loss of muscle mass induces compensatory changes at the
excitation–contraction coupling machinery that makes it more effective and
force per unit of cross-bridges is actually enhanced, whereas in others
maladaptation leads to loss of function.

The meeting represents a significant step forward towards understanding the complexities of the important public health challenge of sarcopenia and related functional decline in aging patients. The release of the findings and information that resulted from the meeting, along with the recommendations for treatment and measurement of sarcopenia, will be momentous, and the AIM Coalition applauds the FNIH and its collaborators for leading the way on these critical issues.

Access the article here.