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Measurement of muscle health in aging

Francis, Peter; Lyons, Mark; Piasecki, Mathew; Mc Phee, Jamie; Hind, Karen; Jakeman, Philip


Peter Francis

Mark Lyons

Jamie Mc Phee

Karen Hind

Philip Jakeman


Muscle health is a critical component in the struggle against physical frailty and the efforts to maintain metabolic health until the limit of chronological age. Consensus opinion is to evaluate muscle health in terms of muscle mass, strength and functional capability. There has been considerable variability in the components of muscle health which have been investigated in addition to variability in the tools of assessment and protocol for measurement. This is in stark contrast to the validated measurement of bone health across the adult life span. The purpose of this review was to identify indices of muscle mass, strength and functional capability most responsive to change with ageing and where possible to provide an estimate of the rate of change. We suggest lean tissue mass (LTM) or skeletal muscle (SM) is best evaluated from the thigh region due to its greater responsiveness to ageing compared to the whole body. The anterior compartment of the thigh region undergoes a preferential age-related decline in SM and force generating capacity. Therefore, we suggest that knee extensor torque is measured to represent the force generating capacity of the thigh and subsequently, to express muscle quality (strength per unit tissue). Finally, we suggest measures of functional capability which allow participants perform to a greater maximum are most appropriate to track age-related difference in functional capacity across the adult lifespan. This is due to their ability encompass a broad spectrum of abilities. This review suggests indices of muscular health for which reference ranges can be generated across the lifespan.


Francis, P., Lyons, M., Piasecki, M., Mc Phee, J., Hind, K., & Jakeman, P. (2017). Measurement of muscle health in aging. Biogerontology, 18(6), 901-911.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 25, 2017
Online Publication Date Apr 4, 2017
Publication Date 2017-12
Deposit Date Nov 27, 2018
Publicly Available Date Dec 6, 2018
Journal Biogerontology
Print ISSN 1389-5729
Electronic ISSN 1573-6768
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 6
Pages 901-911
Public URL
Publisher URL


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