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From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Sarcopenia (Muscle Loss In The Elderly) Questions
Date: Sun, 1 Dec 2002 15:22:22 -0700
Message-ID: <ase39t$3b6$>

----- Original Message -----
From: "Emma Chase VanCott" <>
Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2002 2:56 PM
Subject: Re: Sarcopenia (Muscle Loss In The Elderly) Questions

> Robert11 <> wrote:

> : My friend, in her early 80's, has been complaining over the last few years
> : of increased and significant
> : muscle loss.  Her physicians have been of no help.  Standard answers like
> : "it's normal, exercise more," etc.
> : What might she do?
> : Obviously weight training at her age is not a realistic possibility
> Not so. With the help of a physio, it is indeed possible.

Yep. Don't think of weight training as 100 lb barbells. It can be 2 lb, or
even the weight of a limb, on non-supported range of motion exercises. At
least half of aging sarcopenia arises from simple dis-use. Lazy, ill, or
depressed people eventually get weak, totter around (get "frail,") and die

Exercise is the only known help for this, right now. Hormonal treatments
have some promise, but it's still unclear. Growth hormone causes muscle
increase, but if used in too high doses causes side effects (blood sugar
increases and arthritis). There's a big, big argument now over proper dose,
and it has yet to be demonstrated that there's a dose which causes more good
effects than bad in the elderly (I think it's possible such a dose exists,
but it remains to be proven in a good study; some doctors are using the low
dose now, just on the basis of personal experience with their own patients,
not great science).

For men, testosterone (T) replacement may well be helpful for sarcopenia,
and I would recommend it. T replacement has benefits for aging women too,
but the doses are smaller, and I don't know of any studies to suggest they
are large enough to effect muscles. It's mainly for post menopausal mood and


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