Spontaneous motor unit activity in a healthy ageing population measured using motor unit MRI (MUMRI)
Matthew George Birkbeck1,2,3, Linda Heskamp1, Julie Hall1,4, Ian Schofield1, Avan Sayer1,3, Richard Dodds1,3, Roger Whittaker1,5, and Andrew Blamire1
1Translational and Clinical Research Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 2Northern Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering, Newcastle upon Tyne NHS FT, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 3NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 4Department of Neuroradiology, Newcastle Upon Tyne NHS FT, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 5Department of Neurophysiology, Newcastle upon Tyne NHS FT, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Sarcopenia is commonly associated with ageing, whereby individuals lose muscle mass and strength. One potential contributor to sarcopenia is the degeneration of motor units (MU), defined as a single motor neuron and the muscle fibres it innervates. We used motor unit MRI (MUMRI) to investigate changes to spontaneous MU activity and morphology in a cohort of healthy ageing adults. We found that MU activity and morphology did not appear to change with healthy ageing. We next aim to apply the MUMRI technique in patients with sarcopenia to look for evidence of accelerated MU loss compared to these healthy controls.
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