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  • Cameron Oglesby

Scientists may have discovered a way to slow muscle loss.

Age-related muscle decline …begins to accelerate at around 60,” says Dr. Daniel Ham, of the University of Basel's Biozentrum. “By age 80, we have lost about a third of our muscle mass.”

With that loss can come a loss of independence, as elders need to depend more and more on caregivers for things they used to be able to do themselves.

But now, Swiss researchers have discovered a double-barreled approach to putting the brakes on muscle loss.

Specifically, they tested two different treatments, each believed to effectively slow muscle loss, on aging mice. One of those was moderate fasting, and the other a drug called rapamycin. Each one suppresses a protein complex called mTORC1, which accelerates aging.

The researchers thought that each treatment would just duplicate the other’s effect. But to their surprise, combining the two treatments did more than twice as much good as each one alone. “Compared to their peers,” Dr. Ham notes, mice getting both treatments were “more active and physically capable because their muscles remain healthy.”

If that two-pronged treatment does the same for humans, “We can live an active life for longer, and enjoy activities such as hiking, traveling or taking care of the grandkids,” he added.

Muscle loss isn’t the only thing that can cost seniors their independence. Overreliance on unneeded care can too.

While some care is good, more isn’t necessarily better. Full-time care when part-time will do, a higher skill level than needed, assisted living when some home help and home modifications will serve – all can rob elders of their independence, to say nothing of wasting money.

So when you contact us, the very first part of our holistic senior care management planning is a thorough three-part needs assessment in which we ascertain not only our clients’ and their families’ physical, emotional and environmental needs, but their values and priorities as well. What we learn becomes the basis of a custom-tailored, coordinated plan that provides exactly the care our client needs to keep living as independently as possible for as long as possible.

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