Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology
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 Prevention of Musculoskeletal Aging

 


Leader

Hunkyung Kim, Ph.D.

Members

Researcher: Miji Kim, Ph.D., Narumi Kojima., Megumi Suzukawa

Visiting Scientists
Kiyoji Tanaka, Hiroyuki Shimada

Keywords

Frailty, knee pain, sarcopenia, falls, urinary incontinence, comprehensive intervention, follow-up

Major Research Titles

1. To identify the risk factors associated with the onset of geriatric syndromes in community-dwelling elderly population

2. To assess the effects of comprehensive intervention on geriatric syndromes such as frailty, knee pain, sarcopenia, urinary incontinence, and falls.

The focus of this research team is on the development of interventions for geriatric syndromes, which have been considered an important factor for admission into long-term care, and has been associated with loss of independence, reduced quality of life, restricted social activities, and increased anxiety. Thus, improvement and prevention of geriatric syndromes in its early stages are important for maintaining health and independence in elderly population. In our research, we hypothesize that deteriorations in muscle strength, walking and balance ability are common risk factors associated with geriatric syndromes. We conducted randomized and controlled trials to evaluate the effects of the exercise interventions as well as other treatments targeted at reducing the symptoms of frailty, knee pain, sarcopenia, urinary incontinence, and falling in community-dwelling elderly population.

Knee pain – We investigated the effects of exercise and thermal therapy on 150 women over 75 years of age with knee pain. The exercise group attended a one-hour training program to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee (quadriceps, hamstrings, tibialis anterior, etc) twice a week for three months, the heat therapy group was asked to place a heat and steam generating sheet on their painful knee, and a combination of both interventions were introduced to those in the combined group. Exercise and heat therapy had separate effects in improving physical function and reducing knee pain, but the combination of both also increased quality of life as well as improve physical function and reduce pain.

Sarcopenia – The efficacy of exercise and/or amino-acid supplementation was examined in 155 sarcopenic women over 75 years old. The exercise group attended one-hour exercise classes focused on increasing appendicular muscle mass and strength, twice a week for three months, the amino-acid supplementation group ingested an essential amino-acid mixture daily for three months, and a combination of both were offered to those in the combined group. Exercise and amino-acid supplementation each had positive effects in enhancing function, but the combination may be effective in enhancing muscle strength, muscle mass, and physical function.

Urinary incontinence – We examined the effects of exercise and thermal therapy on 147 women aged over 70 years with all different types of urinary incontinence. The exercise group attended a one-hour class aimed at strengthening the pelvic floor muscle and reducing abdominal fat, twice a week for three months, the heat therapy group was asked to place a heat and steam generating sheet on the lower back, and a combination of both interventions were provided for those in the combined group. While exercise and heat both had incontinence-alleviating effects, the combination of both is more effecting for treating urine loss independent of UI type.

Falls – The effects of an exercise intervention was assessed in 105 women over the age of 70 with a history of falls. The exercise group attended a one-hour exercise class to improve strength, balance, and walking ability, twice a week for three months. The incidences of falls and fractures significantly decreased compared to the control group, suggesting that exercise is effective in reducing falls in the elderly faller.



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Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology
2012/08/13
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