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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Live strong and prosper: the importance of skeletal muscle strength for healthy ageing
Author(s): McLeod, Michael
Breen, Leigh
Hamilton, David Lee
Philp, Andrew
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Keywords: Skeletal muscle
Protein synthesis
Protein metabolism
Issue Date: Jun-2016
Citation: McLeod M, Breen L, Hamilton DL & Philp A (2016) Live strong and prosper: the importance of skeletal muscle strength for healthy ageing, Biogerontology, 17 (3), pp. 497-510.
Abstract: Due to improved health care, diet and infrastructure in developed countries, since 1840 life expectancy has increased by approximately 2years per decade. Accordingly, by 2050, a quarter of Europe’s population will be over 65years, representing a 10% rise in half a century. With this rapid rise comes an increased prevalence of diseases of ageing and associated healthcare expenditure. To address the health consequences of global ageing, research in model systems (worms, flies and mice) has indicated that reducing the rate of organ growth, via reductions in protein synthetic rates, has multi-organ health benefits that collectively lead to improvements in lifespan. In contrast, human pre-clinical, clinical and large cohort prospective studies demonstrate that ageing leads to anabolic (i.e. growth) impairments in skeletal muscle, which in turn leads to reductions in muscle mass and strength, factors directly associated with mortality rates in the elderly. As such, increasing muscle protein synthesis via exercise or protein-based nutrition maintains a strong, healthy muscle mass, which in turn leads to improved health, independence and functionality. The aim of this review is to critique current literature relating to the maintenance of muscle mass across lifespan and discuss whether maintaining or reducing protein synthesis is the most logical approach to support musculoskeletal function and by extension healthy human ageing.
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Rights: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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