The full content of Annals is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >
Editorials |

Stalking Sarcopenia

Irwin H. Rosenberg, MD; and Ronenn Roubenoff, MD, MHS
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

Tufts University Boston, MA 02111 Current Author Addresses: Drs. Rosenberg and Roubenoff: Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, 711 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1995;123(9):727-728. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-123-9-199511010-00014
Text Size: A A A

Among the most dramatic biological markers of increasing age are changes in body composition. Although weight may remain stable or increase somewhat throughout adulthood, fat-free mass steadily decreases and fat mass as a percentage of body weight therefore increases [1]. This age-related change is even more impressive if the decrease in muscle mass is measured rather than the decrease in lean body mass or fat-free mass, which includes viscera and bone. The rate of decline by decade is particularly great after age 70 years; this can be confirmed by direct regional assessments of the cross-sectional area of skeletal muscle in images produced by computed tomography. At the mid-thigh level, for example, muscle accounts for 90% of the cross-sectional area in active young men but only 30% of that area in frail elderly women. The average woman's lean body mass is always smaller than that of men at the same age, but the decline is striking nonetheless. Some studies, including the report by Poehlman and colleagues in this issue [2], have shown an accelerated decline associated with menopause. One large study, which combined both cross-sectional and longitudinal data and used total body potassium levels as the most reliable current measure of body cell mass, showed a 1.2% decline in total body potassium levels per year for each of 3 years around menopause [3]. We refer to this age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass as sarcopenia (literally, lack of flesh) to describe a condition that has profound physiologic and clinical consequences and therefore greatly warrants further attention and study [4].


sarcopenia ; stalking

First Page Preview

View Large
First page PDF preview





Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Submit a Comment/Letter
Submit a Comment/Letter

Summary for Patients

Clinical Slide Sets

Terms of Use

The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.


Buy Now for $32.00

to gain full access to the content and tools.

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Topic Collections
PubMed Articles
Stalking sarcopenia. Ann Intern Med 1995;123(9):727-8.
Forgot your password?
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.