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1.  Prevalence of sarcopenia in community-dwelling older people in the UK using the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP) definition: findings from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study (HCS) 
Age and Ageing  2013;42(3):378-384.
Introduction: sarcopenia is associated with adverse health outcomes. The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence of sarcopenia in community-dwelling older people in the UK using the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP) consensus definition.
Methods: we applied the EWGSOP definition to 103 community-dwelling men participating in the Hertfordshire Sarcopenia Study (HSS) using both the lowest third of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) lean mass (LM) and the lowest third of skin-fold-based fat-free mass (FFM) as markers of low muscle mass. We also used the FFM approach among 765 male and 1,022 female participants in the Hertfordshire Cohort Study (HCS). Body size, physical performance and self-reported health were compared in participants with and without sarcopenia.
Results: the prevalence of sarcopenia in HSS men (mean age 73 years) was 6.8% and 7.8% when using the lowest third of DXA LM and FFM, respectively. DXA LM and FFM were highly correlated (0.91, P < 0.001). The prevalence of sarcopenia among the HCS men and women (mean age 67 years) was 4.6% and 7.9%, respectively. HSS and HCS participants with sarcopenia were shorter, weighed less and had worse physical performance. HCS men and women with sarcopenia had poorer self-reported general health and physical functioning scores.
Conclusions: this is one of the first studies to describe the prevalence of sarcopenia in UK community-dwelling older people. The EWGSOP consensus definition was of practical use for sarcopenia case finding. The next step is to use this consensus definition in other ageing cohorts and among older people in a range of health-care settings.
PMCID: PMC3633365  PMID: 23384705
sarcopenia; prevalence; EWGSOP consensus definition; muscle mass; fat-free mass; grip strength; gait speed; older people
2.  New horizons in the pathogenesis, diagnosis and management of sarcopenia 
Age and Ageing  2013;42(2):145-150.
Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and function. It is now recognised as a major clinical problem for older people and research in the area is expanding exponentially. One of the most important recent developments has been convergence in the operational definition of sarcopenia combining measures of muscle mass and strength or physical performance. This has been accompanied by considerable progress in understanding of pathogenesis from animal models of sarcopenia. Well-described risk factors include age, gender and levels of physical activity and this knowledge is now being translated into effective management strategies including resistance exercise with recent interest in the additional role of nutritional intervention. Sarcopenia is currently a major focus for drug discovery and development although there remains debate about the best primary outcome measure for trials, and various promising avenues to date have proved unsatisfactory. The concept of ‘new tricks for old drugs’ is, however, promising, for example, there is some evidence that the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors may improve physical performance. Future directions will include a deeper understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of sarcopenia and the application of a lifecourse approach to understanding aetiology as well as to informing the optimal timing of interventions.
PMCID: PMC3575121  PMID: 23315797
sarcopenia; skeletal muscle; ageing; pathogenesis; diagnosis; exercise; nutrition; drug treatment; life course; epidemiology; older people
3.  Objective measures of physical capability and subsequent health: a systematic review 
Age and Ageing  2010;40(1):14-23.
Background: measures of physical capability may be predictive of subsequent health, but existing published studies have not been systematically reviewed. We hypothesised that weaker grip strength, slower walking speed and chair rising and shorter standing balance time, in community-dwelling populations, would be associated with higher subsequent risk of fracture, cognitive outcomes, cardiovascular disease, hospitalisation and institutionalisation.
Methods: studies were identified through systematic searches of the electronic databases MEDLINE and EMBASE (to May 2009). Reference lists of eligible papers were also manually searched.
Results: twenty-four papers had examined the associations between at least one physical capability measure and one of the outcomes. As the physical capability measures and outcomes had been assessed and categorised in different ways in different studies, and there were differences in the potential confounding factors taken into account, this made it impossible to pool results. There were more studies examining fractures than other outcomes, and grip strength and walking speed were the most commonly examined capability measures. Most studies found that weaker grip strength and slower walking speed were associated with increased risk of future fractures and cognitive decline, but residual confounding may explain results in some studies. Associations between physical capability levels and the other specified outcomes have not been tested widely.
Conclusions: there is some evidence to suggest that objective measures of physical capability may be predictors of subsequent health in older community-dwelling populations. Most hypothesised associations have not been studied sufficiently to draw definitive conclusions suggesting the need for further research.
PMCID: PMC3000177  PMID: 20843964
grip strength; walking speed; chair rises; standing balance; fracture; cognitive outcomes; cardiovascular disease; systematic review

Results 1-3 (3)