Scientists launch Centre into Musculoskeletal Ageing

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The FINANCIAL — Scientists at the Universities of Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield have been awarded £2.5 million to establish a new Medical Research Council and Arthritis UK Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing, according to the Universities of Liverpool.


Musculoskeletal problems are a major problem as people get older, with more than 30% over the age of 65 being affected by conditions of the bone, joint and muscle. Research at the new Centre will focus on how experts in the biology of tendons, muscles, bones and joints can help better inform investigations into the ageing process.

The Centre will address the debate about whether age-related decline in bone density – a key feature of osteoporosis – and the degeneration of articular cartilage are due to ageing alone or whether the risk of developing these conditions increases with specific diseases in older people. Researchers are also looking at why ageing is accompanied by the loss of muscle mass.

Study at Liverpool includes work into whether energy-generating parts of the cell, called mitochondria, become defective during ageing and in conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome. Other research includes investigating whether some stem cell activity could contribute to abnormal collagen production in age-related diseases. Scientists are also looking at magnetic-resonance based methods to produce a model of the physiology of elite athletes to understand why exercise tolerance is limited in elderly people.

Investment from MRC and Arthritis Research UK also includes a further £2.5 million to establish a Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research at the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham, focusing on age-related loss of musculoskeletal function and the role of obesity.

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Professor Stephen Holgate, Chair of the MRC Population and Systems Medicine Board, said: “We plan to establish two international centres of excellence in research into the causes and mechanisms of musculoskeletal ageing and develop medical interventions that will improve musculoskeletal health.



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