Understanding the process of muscle ageing in females and males over the lifespan

We're seeking adult females and males for this major study that will be the first to thoroughly investigate the process of muscle ageing in both sexes

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We know that females and males age differently. But there is a lot we don’t know about the specifics of muscle ageing, particularly in females.

Much of female biology remains a mystery, due to years of scientific research predominantly focused on males. In fact, nearly everything we know about muscle ageing is through studies conducted on males. This is because there has historically been a lack of research on female muscle.

This research study aims to fill this knowledge gap by mapping the process of female muscle ageing across the lifespan, to better understand the different factors (e.g. hormonal, functional, molecular) at play. To properly analyse this, it is appropriate to also investigate the equivalent male cohort.

Therefore we’re seeking adult females and males for this major study that will be the first to thoroughly investigate the process of muscle ageing in both sexes

Lead researcher, Associate Professor Severine Lamon said female-specific knowledge gleaned from her Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship would help inform sex-specific interventions to assist females to age well in the future.

“Males and females are not equally affected by muscle ageing. On average, females are more susceptible to the negative metabolic and functional consequences of muscle ageing,” she said.

“Females live longer, but have lower muscle mass and bone density than males, which makes them more susceptible to falls, diseases and decreased quality of life.

“By identifying differences in muscle ageing between females and males, our findings will challenge the current approach of ‘one size fits all’.

“More importantly, it will provide the necessary data to design female-specific interventions – whether they are exercise, nutritional or hormonal – to improve the quality of life of our ageing female population.”

The research team are inviting biological females aged between 30-80 and biological males aged between 18-80 to join our study and contribute to this important research. Find out more below.

About the Muscle Ageing study…

Researchers aim to recruit 96 females and males aged 18-80 years to test their hormone levels, body composition, bone density, muscle strength and muscle function.

The team will also collect a tiny piece of muscle from the thigh for lab analysis to understand which genes are important in the muscle ageing process. This will allow a map of female and male muscle ageing across each decade of age, something that has never been done before.

This study has received ethical clearance from the Deakin University Human Research Committee (DUHREC 2021-307).

What participants are required to do:

We’re seeking participants who can visit our laboratory at Deakin University (Burwood campus) on two occasions.

For females: visit 1 (2.5 hours) and visit 2 (an hour).
For males: visit 1 (an hour) and visit 2 (an hour).
These visits include an assessment of muscle size, strength and function, body composition, bone density, and the collection of a tiny piece of muscle from the thigh.

Benefits of participating in this study:

Female participants will receive a $100 voucher and male participants will receive a $50 voucher, upon completion of the study. They will also receive a report detailing their body composition, bone density and muscle size.

Requirements for participants:

Any biological female (defined as someone who was born with two X chromosomes) aged between 30-80 years and any biological male (defined as someone who was born with XY chromosomes) aged between 18-80 years, may be eligible to participate.

Interested? Click the links for more information or to sign up: Female survey or male survey.

Project manager: Briana Gatto (briana.gatto@deakin.edu.au)

Principal investigators: Dr Danielle Hiam (danielle.hiam@deakin.edu.au) and A/Prof. Severine Lamon (severine.lamon@deakin.edu.au)

Student researchers: Annabel Critchlow (annabel.critchlow@deakin.edu.au) and Ross Williams (ross.williams@deakin.edu.au)