Muscle loss in old age linked to fewer nerve signals

From BBC - March 11, 2018

Researchers say they may have worked out why there is a natural loss of muscle in the legs as people age - and that it is due to a loss of nerves.

In tests on 168 men, they found that nerves controlling the legs decreased by around 30% by the age of 75.

This made muscles waste away, but in older fitter athletes there was a better chance of them being arescued' by nerves re-connecting.

The scientists published their research in the Journal of Physiology.

As people get older, their leg muscles become smaller and weaker, leading to problems with everyday movements such as walking up stairs or getting out of a chair.

It is something that affects everyone eventually, but why it happens is not fully understood.

Prof Jamie McPhee, from Manchester Metropolitan University, said young adults usually had 60-70,000 nerves controlling movement in the legs from the lumbar spine.

But his research showed this changed significantly in old age.


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