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Buff Seniors

New drug prevents frailty

Growing older may not necessarily mean growing weaker. Researchers at UVA discovered that a new drug called MK-677 increases muscle mass in older adults. Seniors who took the drug showed levels of growth hormone similar to those in young adults, and their muscle mass increased by 20 percent. “Our study opens the door to the possibility of developing treatments that avert the frailty of aging,” says researcher Michael O. Thorner. “The search for anti-frailty medications has become increasingly important because the average American is expected to live into his or her 80s, and most seniors want to stay strong enough to remain independent as they age.”

Though initial results are encouraging, a larger and longer clinical trial is necessary to determine the long-term safety and effectiveness of MK-677.