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1.  Sarcopenia in daily practice: assessment and management 
BMC Geriatrics  2016;16:170.
Background
Sarcopenia is increasingly recognized as a correlate of ageing and is associated with increased likelihood of adverse outcomes including falls, fractures, frailty and mortality. Several tools have been recommended to assess muscle mass, muscle strength and physical performance in clinical trials. Whilst these tools have proven to be accurate and reliable in investigational settings, many are not easily applied to daily practice.
Methods
This paper is based on literature reviews performed by members of the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis (ESCEO) working group on frailty and sarcopenia. Face-to-face meetings were afterwards organized for the whole group to make amendments and discuss further recommendations.
Results
This paper proposes some user-friendly and inexpensive methods that can be used to assess sarcopenia in real-life settings. Healthcare providers, particularly in primary care, should consider an assessment of sarcopenia in individuals at increased risk; suggested tools for assessing risk include the Red Flag Method, the SARC-F questionnaire, the SMI method or different prediction equations. Management of sarcopenia should primarily be patient centered and involve the combination of both resistance and endurance based activity programmes with or without dietary interventions. Development of a number of pharmacological interventions is also in progress.
Conclusions
Assessment of sarcopenia in individuals with risk factors, symptoms and/or conditions exposing them to the risk of disability will become particularly important in the near future.
doi:10.1186/s12877-016-0349-4
PMCID: PMC5052976  PMID: 27716195
Sarcopenia; Daily practice; Assessment; Management; Tools
2.  Southampton mealtime assistance study: design and methods 
BMC Geriatrics  2013;13:5.
Background
Malnutrition is common in older people in hospital and is associated with adverse clinical outcomes including increased mortality, morbidity and length of stay. This has raised concerns about the nutrition and diet of hospital in-patients. A number of factors may contribute to low dietary intakes in hospital, including acute illness and cognitive impairment among in-patients. The extent to which other factors influence intake such as a lack of help at mealtimes, for patients who require assistance with eating, is uncertain. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of using trained volunteer mealtime assistants to help patients on an acute medical ward for older people at mealtimes.
Methods/design
The study design is quasi-experimental with a before (year one) and after (year two) comparison of patients on the intervention ward and parallel comparison with patients on a control ward in the same department. The intervention in the second year was the provision of trained volunteer mealtime assistance to patients in the intervention ward. There were three components of data collection that were repeated in both years on both wards. The first (primary) outcome was patients’ dietary intake, collected as individual patient records and as ward-level balance data over 24 hour periods. The second was clinical outcome data assessed on admission and discharge from both wards, and 6 and 12 months after discharge. Finally qualitative data on the views and experience of patients, carers, staff and volunteers was collected through interviews and focus groups in both years to allow a mixed-method evaluation of the intervention.
Discussion
The study will describe the effect of provision of trained volunteer mealtime assistants on the dietary intake of older medical in-patients. The association between dietary intake and clinical outcomes including malnutrition risk, body composition, grip strength, length of hospital stay and mortality will also be determined. An important component of the study is the use of qualitative approaches to determine the views of patients, relatives, staff and volunteers on nutrition in hospital and the impact of mealtime assistance.
Trial registration
Trial registered with ClinicalTrials.gov NCTO1647204
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-13-5
PMCID: PMC3547699  PMID: 23294981
Nutrition; Older; Volunteer; Mealtime assistance; Dietary intake; Hospital
3.  Hertfordshire sarcopenia study: design and methods 
BMC Geriatrics  2010;10:43.
Background
Sarcopenia is defined as the loss of muscle mass and strength with age. Although a number of adult influences are recognised, there remains considerable unexplained variation in muscle mass and strength between older individuals. This has focused attention on influences operating earlier in life. Our objective for this study was to identify life course influences on muscle mass and strength in an established birth cohort and develop methodology for collection of muscle tissue suitable to investigate underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms.
Methods
One hundred and five men from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study (HCS), born between 1931 and 1939 who have historical records of birth weight and weight at one year took part in the Hertfordshire Sarcopenia Study (HSS). Each participant consented for detailed characterisation of muscle mass, muscle function and aerobic capacity. In addition, a muscle biopsy of the vastus lateralis using a Weil-Blakesley conchotome was performed. Data on muscle mass, function and aerobic capacity was collected on all 105 participants. Muscle biopsy was successfully carried out in 102 participants with high rates of acceptability. No adverse incidents occurred during the study.
Discussion
The novel approach of combining epidemiological and basic science characterisation of muscle in a well established birth cohort will allow the investigation of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying life course influences on sarcopenia.
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-10-43
PMCID: PMC2909243  PMID: 20587018

Results 1-3 (3)