Musculoskeletal diseases are the leading causes of disability and loss of independence for older adults. The public health and economic impact of falls, fractures and hospitalization result in healthcare expenditures estimated to be more than $50 billion annually. The underlying causes of muscle loss, low bone density and osteoarthritis are multi-factorial and include poor nutritional status, reduced levels of physical activity, inflammation, chronic disease burden and other co-morbidities. HNRCA researchers use basic science approaches, observational studies and clinical intervention trials to investigate the effects of body composition/nutrition status on skeletal muscle growth capacity, bone loss and physical function in older adults, with the overall goal of understanding how these processes affect mobility status with advancing age.
Key researchobjectives • Determine the mechanisms by which selected nutrients and/or varying modes of exercise/physical activity influence skeletal muscle performance, cognitive performance, physical functioning, and quality of life in older adults.
• Determine role of nutrients including vitamin K and vitamin D on bone, muscle, and joint metabolism and function in older adults.
• Characterize the mechanisms associated with nutritional and exercise-related mediators of anabolic resistance associated with sarcopenia, advancing age, and/or reduced mobility in cell/animal models and humans.