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Muscle mass in elderly boosted by combining resistance exercise and blood flow restriction
Date:5/14/2010

chemical tracer infused into the bloodstream. In addition, a series of biopsies yielded muscle samples that were analyzed to track alterations in biochemical pathways critical to muscle growth.

"We saw that when we put the cuffs on, they responded similarly to young people doing traditional high-intensity resistance exercise," said UTMB graduate student Christopher Fry, the lead author of the paper. "The low-intensity exercise produced increases in protein synthesis, and activated two cellular pathways that stimulate protein synthesis and muscle growth in the post-exercise period."

Exactly how restricting blood flow in the muscles generated these effects remains unknown, although Rasmussen and Fry speculated that either an improved ability to activate Type II muscle fibers or a response to the sudden surge of blood into the muscles when the cuffs were released could be responsible. Whatever the mechanism, Rasmussen said, "we think it's an exciting potential new rehabilitation tool."

"You could use this following ACL knee surgery or hip fracture surgery, for example," Rasmussen said. "In the first few weeks after ACL surgery, the joint just won't allow you to lift heavy weight. So instead, you could use a really light weight with a restriction cuff, which may prevent the muscle loss that you normally see following knee surgery."


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Contact: Jim Kelly
jpkelly@utmb.edu
409-772-8791
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Source:Eurekalert

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