Clinical trials for conditions of low muscle mass and strength

Stephanie Studenski, Rosaly Correa-de-Araujo, Luigi Ferrucci

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Sarcopenia is characterized by low muscle mass, sometimes along with low strength and physical function. Clinical trials to evaluate potential interventions for this problem are faced with a set of challenges common to many conditions of aging, including: (1) a tension between feasibility and external validity; (2) selection of relevant and feasible outcome measures; and (3) the ability to attribute effects to the intervention. This chapter addresses key issues in the design of such trials. We begin with a set of background issues related to muscle mass, muscle strength and aging. Subsequently we address a series of trade-offs to trial design, based on the goals of treatment; target populations, outcome and mechanistic measures, intervention characteristics, trial duration, frequency of observation and the management of adherence, drop-outs, and missing data. We then summarize the status of recent and ongoing trials. Finally, we identify key gaps in knowledge and new research opportunities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationClinical Trials in Older Adults
PublisherWiley Blackwell
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781118323434
ISBN (Print)9781118323496
StatePublished - Aug 25 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Dynapenia
  • Muscle mass
  • Sarcopenia
  • Strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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