May 21, 2024

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Novel Electromedical Therapy Shows Promise in Rebuilding Muscles Lost to Natural Aging

Novel Electromedical Therapy Shows Promise in Rebuilding Muscles Lost to Natural Aging



 

Novel Electromedical Therapy Shows Promise in Rebuilding Muscles Lost to Natural Aging.

Up to 16% of the global elderly population suffers from “muscle atrophy,” a primary factor contributing to their loss of independence.

Marked by the loss of muscle mass and functionality or strength, it is a leading cause of age-related falls, mobility issues, and functional decline.

Most importantly, there has been no “cure” or treatment method to halt, let alone reverse its progression, with most interventions focusing on slowing muscle mass loss through lifestyle and dietary changes.

Now, scientists from the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) in South Korea have developed a novel electromedical therapy capable of rejuvenating aging mouse muscle cells, with hopes that this therapy may yield similar results in human models.

The first author and Professor of Biological Sciences at DGIST, Minseok Kim, states, “The number of muscle atrophy patients has surged recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the global aging population, limiting societal activities. This research holds significant importance as it validates for the first time the potential application of electromedical treatment in addressing muscle atrophy, a condition currently devoid of a cure. We’ve also identified the age-dependent optimal electrical stimulation conditions for muscle recovery, potentially revolutionizing the paradigm for personalized electromedical therapy development.”

The research team developed an aging human muscle cell electrical stimulation (ES) screening platform based on a biochip. Using this platform, they were able to determine the optimal electrical stimulation conditions to induce rejuvenation in aging muscle cells. While ES has the potential to damage muscles, researchers found that, at the optimal levels, ES interacts positively with calcium signaling, aging, and metabolism. Restoration of calcium signaling in aging skeletal muscles can induce hypertrophy, or an increase in muscle mass.

The research team tested this optimal ES hypothesis on elderly mice, subjecting them to six weeks of electromedical therapy. At the conclusion of the experiment, these animals showed improvements in muscle mass and muscle quality compared to the control group. Muscle contractile strength and tissue formation also improved, indicating that the treatment not only rebuilt muscle mass but also enhanced muscle function.

 

Novel Electromedical Therapy Shows Promise in Rebuilding Muscles Lost to Natural Aging

This image breaks down the schematic of the therapy/DGIST (image from PNAS)

 

Although this is preliminary research, the research team believes it has the potential to reshape the use of existing ES.

The research team notes in their study report, “Currently, many muscle electrical stimulation devices are used in hospitals and homes without considering the optimal ES conditions. Through this research, we propose the need for specific ES tailored to muscle atrophy, maximizing effectiveness with minimal side effects, and we hope to introduce this technique as Silver Electrotherapy. This study has the potential to serve as the foundation for the development of personalized electromedical treatments for muscle atrophy.”

This research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

 

 

Novel Electromedical Therapy Shows Promise in Rebuilding Muscles Lost to Natural Aging

(source:internet, reference only)


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