Grant to Fund Research On Injury Preventiion In Elderly

Release Date: June 12, 1996 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A $37,000 grant from the American Federation for Aging Research will fund a University at Buffalo study on the skeletal muscles of the elderly that ultimately may help prevent injuries and reduce medical costs.

"The study is designed to look at why aged skeletal muscles are more susceptible to exercise-induced injury compared to younger skeletal muscles," said Luc Gosselin, principal investigator, who is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Exercise Science in the UB School of Health Related Professions.

"With the population living longer, it is critical to acquire insight into why the elderly are more likely to become injured while exercising."

He added: "If we understand why aging muscle is more susceptible to injury, then we can design countermeasures to prevent this from happening. People talk about the 'graying of society' and a result of that is a large number of elderly individuals are being placed in nursing homes, which, in turn, has a tremendous socioeconomic impact."

Using exercise to maintain, or even improve, muscle strength in the elderly, Gosselin said, may improve their ability to handle daily activities and delay or eliminate the need to be placed in a skilled nursing facility, thus reducing medical costs.

The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) grant program, which began in 1982, funds pilot research projects on the basic mechanisms of aging, the role of the aging processes in the onset and progression of disease, and the nature of age-related health problems such as arthritis, memory loss, visual and hearing impairments, confusion and incontinence. Projects investigating the incidence, distribution and control of disease in the population of certain age-related disorders also are funded.

"The AFAR research grant program is mainly for investigative scientists who are still in the early stages of their careers," said Odette Van Der Willik, grants manager at AFAR. "Our program prepares or gives practice to researchers who will conduct more extensive grant-funded research later on in their careers."

Gosselin is a resident of Amherst.