This proposal is for the competitive renewal of RO1 AG018844, which is in its third year of funding and is submitted in response to PAS-03-122 """"""""Frailty in Old Age: Pathophysiology and Interventions"""""""". The focus of this research has been to examine the physiologic and functional effects of a muscle power training intervention in comparison to traditional progressive resistance training in a community-based group of elderly men and women with moderate mobility limitations. During the current project period, we have successfully demonstrated that peak lower extremity power is closely associated with functional limitations and self-reported disability in older community dwelling men and women. We propose to extend our previous findings by examining the physiological mechanisms that contribute to the age and gender-related declines in peak muscle power. To compliment our existing data on skeletal muscle fiber contractile properties, we will assess the neural contributions to the generation of muscle power with advancing age. We will test the hypothesis that skeletal muscle single fiber contractile properties (i.e. single fiber power, shortening velocity, specific force), neural factors (i.e. intermuscular coordination patterns, central activation ratios/and motor unit control properties) and lower extremity power will be reduced with advancing age and degree of risk for mobility disability, and these differences will be attenuated in women compared to men. Middle-aged healthy (40-55 yrs.), older healthy (70-85 yrs), and older (70-85 yrs) men and women at risk for mobility disability will be studied under controlled conditions (Study 1). In addition, in light of our recent observations that differences in lower extremity maximal velocity occur at relatively low external forces (eg: 40% 1 RM) and are most closely associated with gait velocity in older individuals, we propose conducting a randomized controlled trial of high velocity low resistance exercise training in individuals at risk for mobility disability to test the hypothesis that a short-term resistance training intervention performed against a low external force and at maximum voluntary velocity will induce significant reductions in mobility disability as evidenced by improvements in gait velocity during performance of a 400 M walk in older individuals at risk for mobility disability (SPPB score <_9, 70 - 85 yrs) (Study 2). The results of these studies will have important implications in understanding the proximal determinants of physical disability in the frail elderly and in designing intervention strategies targeted at improving mobility.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BDA-A (02))
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Nayfield, Susan G
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Tufts University
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