Five steps for action from the International Sarcopenia Translational Research Conference 2021
Following a successful event, jointly hosted by the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre (Newcastle BRC) and Newcastle University’s AGE Research Group, we look at the key messages for interdisciplinary translational sarcopenia research.
The virtual conference took place 10-11 June 2021 and welcomed nearly 200 delegates from 25 countries worldwide. Guests and speakers came from a broad range of disciplines, focussing on the opportunities as well as challenges of translating discovery science into benefits for patients living with the muscle weakness associated with sarcopenia.
The NIHR Newcastle BRC is the only BRC in the country with a strategic focus on tackling ageing syndromes and the challenges these can bring to individuals and healthcare providers. Sarcopenia is a key exemplar of an ageing syndrome and a focus of our work in the BRC.
The conference provided lots of ideas and discussion to further inform the direction of our research and plans for the BRC.
Here’s what we’re taking away from the event:
- The value of interdisciplinary translational research – it is essential to work together across disciplinary and clinical boundaries to answer the big questions about why sarcopenia occurs and what we can do to identify it, treat it and ultimately prevent it.
- It’s not just about older people – whilst loss of muscle strength commonly occurs in later life, it can also occur in mid-life or earlier highlighting the need for a life course approach to sarcopenia.
- Time to embed recognition of sarcopenia into clinical care – all speakers raised the importance of making the diagnosis of sarcopenia in patients to drive forward advances in care.
- The importance of considering multiple long-term conditions – whilst many clinical and research approaches are designed to look at conditions in isolation, speakers referred to important work being done, particularly at the NIHR Newcastle BRC, to increase our knowledge of sarcopenia in the context of Multiple Long-term Conditions (MLTCs).
- Supporting clinical researchers of the future – the event welcomed early career researchers from a range of institutions, including those supported by the NIHR Newcastle BRC. Their involvement was key in demonstrating the value of supporting the next generation of clinical researchers, to ensure that we’re building capacity to deliver international sarcopenia research at scale.
Following the success of the conference, the Newcastle BRC looks forward to working with key partners in healthcare, research, and industry, to grow our capacity for translational sarcopenia research in the UK.