Muscle loss may seem to be a common sign of ageing, but more can be done to help elderly retain their strength, said Ms Elisa Marie Crombie, graduate student from the Department of Physiology at NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
Elisa was awarded a research grant to investigate the role of muscle stem cells in sarcopenia, a condition on the progressive loss of muscle strength and functionality that occurs with ageing. With the rise of Singapore’s ageing population, sarcopenia is increasingly a prevalent condition that may impact the quality of life and daily activities of Singaporeans. To date, there is no clinical or oral treatment that targets sarcopenia, and research is also done extensively in the western countries compared to Asia.
“A lot of people think it’s normal for your muscles to be wasting when you’re old, but that’s not true. There will be some age-related muscle loss, but you can still retain muscle mass as you age.” Elisa said.
Physiotherapists advise seniors to set aside half an hour daily for endurance and resistance exercises to help with their condition, which have been demonstrated to increase muscle mass and strength in sarcopenia older people.
Elisa is one of the four awardees of the Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Welfare Foundation (MSIWF) research grant and was selected out of 205 applicants across Asia.