Understanding the process of muscle ageing in females

Much of female biology remains a mystery, due to years of scientific research predominantly focused on males. We're seeking adult females for a major study that will be the first to investigate the process of female muscle ageing.

Woman lifespan cycle from infant age to old. Female character at different phases of life and growth. Vector flat set of baby, toddler girl, teenager, young person, adult, mother with kid and elderly

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

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, for a better understanding of the different factors (e.g. hormonal, functional, molecular) at play.

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 females aged between 18-80 to join the study and contribute to this important research. Find out more below.

The Female Lifespan research team at IPAN

About the Female Lifespan study

Researchers aim to recruit 96 females aged 18-80 years and 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 female muscle ageing process. This will allow a map of female 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 three occasions over a period of 2-4 weeks: visit 1 (2.5 hours), visit 2 (2.5 hours) and visit 3 (an hour), which will be organised at the participant’s convenience. 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

Each participant will receive a $100 voucher at the 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 18-80years may be eligible to participate, unless they have a neurological disorder, cancer, or are in remission from cancer.

Interested? Click here for more information or to sign up.

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)