Bed Rest May Sap Muscle Loss

Bed rest may cause healthy older adults to lose a large
amount of muscle in 10 days.

Researchers report that news in The Journal of the American Medical
. They included Patrick Kortebein, MD, of the University of

Kortebein and colleagues studied 12 healthy older adults who were 67 years
old, on average.

Participants stayed in bed around the clock for 10 days, except for bathroom
trips. They were given a diet that met their recommended daily allowance for

Before and after 10 days of bed rest, participants got X-rays, provided
blood samples, and took a knee strength test.

"There was a large loss of skeletal muscle as a result of bed rest,
particularly from the lower extremities," write the researchers.

Overall, participants lost about 3 pounds during the 10 days of bed rest.
That includes about 2 pounds of leg muscle.

Participants lost more muscle in 10 days of bed rest than younger adults
lost in 28 days of bed rest, according to research cited by Kortebein's

It's not clear if the same
results apply to frail or ill older adults, but they suggest that there might be more
loss for hospitalized older adults, note Kortebein and colleagues. They
call for studies to prevent muscle loss from bed rest in older adults.

By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
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