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23 April 2007 PR 07/50

Volunteers required for study into ageing

Loughborough University researchers are looking for volunteers to take part in a study that will help scientists learn more about the role that genes play in the ageing process.

The study will look at whether certain genes influence muscle strength and if some people are more susceptible to mobility problems as a consequence.

“There is a continual decline of the bones and a muscles as people age, which can effect mobility and make people susceptible to falls in later life. What we are trying to find is the processes that influence this,” said lead researcher Dr Jonathan Folland.

“There is already evidence that certain genetic differences may influence physical function and particularly muscle strength. If we can identify the genes that lead to reduced strength it could help medical practitioners implement prevention strategies at an earlier stage.”

Folland said that between 30 and 50 percent of all people over the age of 65 experience at least one fall a year and the research could have important implications for the health service.

“It really is a big issue. If we can identify the causes to implement prevention programmes at an early age, it could have potentially enormous costs savings later on for the health service.”

The researchers are looking for men aged between 60 and 70 who have a normal or low level of physical activity. Volunteers will first be tested in the community with simple strength tests, while for the second part of the study they must be available for more detailed testing at the University.

The University-based testing will include a range of strength and functional tests, a blood sample and a scan using a DXA imaging machine that measures bone density and muscle mass.

Anyone interested in taking part in the study should contact Tracey Mc Cauley on 07743 458-138 or T.M.McCauley@lboro.ac.uk

Ends

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Notes for editors:

  1. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2006 National Student Survey, the University gained a top five place, with nine out of Loughborough’s 23 departments topping their subject tables. Loughborough was also placed 6th in the 2007 Times Good University Guide and was named winner of the 2006 THES award for the UK’s Best Student Experience. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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