Translated literally from Greek as “poverty of the flesh,” sarcopenia refers to age-related loss of muscle mass. Sarcopenia is a critical component, along with osteoporosis, of frailty syndrome. The Center convened a faculty workshop in January, 2013 to explore measures that might be taken to delay the onset of sarcopenia, slow its progression, and provide accommodation for those already afflicted. In particular, the goal of the session was to mobilize the Stanford research community around this topic, determine where Stanford could make the biggest impact, and build a research team. The workshop was attended by eight Stanford faculty representing six disciplines. The outcome was a commitment to explore two projects:
• The field of Sports Medicine has developed a host of techniques to help athletes “return to play” as quickly as possible. The Center has launched a collaboration with Dr. Gordon Matheson, Director of Stanford Sports Medicine, to apply these interventions on chronic disease in the aging population.
• There have been several studies investigating measurement of sarcopenia, but very little work on how the progression of the disease translates directly to personal function. There is significant interest among the faculty to explore this link so that interventions could be targeted to improve the lives of individuals better, rather than focusing on medical measurements.