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J Frailty Aging. 2019;8(1):7-9. doi: 10.14283/jfa.2018.35.

Neuromuscular Changes with Aging and Sarcopenia.

Author information

Brian C. Clark, Ph.D. Ohio University, Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute (OMNI), 250 Irvine Hall, Athens, OH 45701, USA, Phone: 740.593.2354, Email:


Sarcopenia was originally conceptualized as the age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass. Over the ensuing decades, the conceptual definition of sarcopenia has changed to represent a condition in older adults that is characterized by declining muscle mass and function, with "function" most commonly conceived as muscle weakness and/or impaired physical performance (e.g., slow gait speed). Findings over the past 15-years, however, have demonstrated that changes in grip and leg extensor strength are not primarily due to muscle atrophy per se, and that to a large extent, are reflective of declines in the integrity of the nervous system. This article briefly summarizes findings relating to the complex neuromuscular mechanisms that contribute to reductions in muscle function associated with advancing age, and the implications of these findings on the development of effective therapies.


Sarcopenia; aging; dynapenia; muscle; strength; weakness


Conflict of interest statement

Brian Clark has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Astellas Pharma Global Development, Inc., RTI Health Solutions, Ohio Department of Higher Education, and the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations. In the past 5-years Brian Clark has received consulting fees from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Abbott Laboratories, and the Gerson Lehrman Group. Additionally, Brian Clark is co-founder with equity and scientific director of AEIOU Scientific, LLC.

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