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Sarcopenia in Older Adults

Lori Burkhead Morgan, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

January 9, 2012

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Question

I have heard of the term ‘sarcopenia’ and want to know if it can be rehabilitated.

Answer

We can rehabilitate sarcopenia.  It is just reconditioning.  It is more likely to happen in elderly folks and happen more quickly and can be more severe.  So again, the literature (not only in swallowing disorders but exercise science) has shown that strength can improve with exercise in elderly patients with sarcopenia. That's why it is important for all healthy elders to be doing exercise, and Dr. Robbins has even talked about doing a swallowing maintenance program even on healthy elders, not just those with dysphagia. So, yes, we can rehabilitate sarcopenia and should definitely try to do that.

Lori Burkhead earned a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 2005, focusing on using exercise-based principles in dysphagia diagnosis and management.  She has presented domestically and internationally, published peer-reviewed articles and a book chapter relating to dysphagia.  Her current research focuses on developing more effective approaches for dysphagia evaluation and treatment.

 

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