Video transcript: From muscle in motion to exercise in ageing

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May 2014

Video shows Matt Davies inside the ergometer getting ready to start the experiment.

Professor Graham Kemp, University of Liverpool
What we are seeing today is a BBSRC-funded project which is about the limits to exercise tolerance and it's in a general context of ageing. Although the study we are looking at today is of a young, fit, healthy subject, we are looking at the ways to understand the mechanisms that change with age and to understand what effects they have on the function of the body.

Dr Carrie Ferguson, University of Leeds
This is Matt. He is one of our participants. We have been performing the exercise tests on him today and he will be exercising inside the bore of the magnet and what we are interested in is looking at how his body responds to that external work that he is doing on the ergometer. We will then integrate those measurements that we have made of his oxygen uptake, with measurements that we take in the magnet, of the phosphates, what is happening with the phosphates within the working muscles.

Video shows Matt Davies carrying out the exercise experiment inside the ergometer.

Video shows Bill Bimson looking at the measurements taken from the experiment on a computer.

Bill Bimson, University of Liverpool
So that is the wire I have just acquired from Matt and it looks pretty good. It has the display parameters on this so that I can zoom in on the central peak there, the phosphate-creatine peak.

Carrie Ferguson
Oxygen uptake is quite slow to respond to a change in the energy demand in the working muscle. So we need an energy system that buffers that shortfall in the oxidative energy that is being provided by the working muscles, and phosphates is a way to do that.

Video shows Matt Davies in the ergometer.

Matt Davies, MSc research student, University of Leeds
While I have been acting as a participate, I have also been running the project. So I am a Masters student with Carrie as my supervisor. So I have been helping on the ground doing the experiments, collecting the data and interacting with the participants, recruiting them and building good relationships with them. Because there are quite a number of tests in this a crossover various sites so you get a lot of time to build good relationships with your participants, which is really good.

Graham Kemp
The wider context of this work is the ageing population, the problems, the socio-economic and of course the personal problems which result from the extraordinary increase in longevity that we have seen. The essential thing is that if you are going to live for a long time you need to live a healthy life and you need to be as mobile as possible.

Carrie Ferguson
The tests that you would have seen today is just one of a series of experiments that they will do within the magnet and they will differ in difficulty and by doing that we can, again, look at how effectively the muscles are using oxygen, using phosphates, to generate energy and all that is linked into exercise tolerance.

Graham Kemp
So an important question is 'what can be done about these processes of ageing?' And obviously, in general, there are nutritional approaches you might consider; there are pharmalogical approaches and there is the very important area which you can call exercise prescription in the broadest sense, so increasing activity, training if you like.

Carrie Ferguson
With this project if we can understand more about the mechanisms that are limiting that exercise tolerance, we can begin to understand how we can design interventions to have a positive impact.

Graham Kemp
Part of what we want to do is understand what are the likely effects of manipulating particular parts of that system. And again this is where our integrated approach comes in. We can't do all the experiments we would want to do; we aspire to build a model which will enable us to predict the beneficial effects of particular manipulations. So are there drug approaches to build muscle mass? Well, there are a number of these things which are being discussed at the moment. To what extent will that benefit in terms of the activities of daily life? You can only do those experiments and answer the question but one of the things we hope to do here is to be able to predict what is likely to be a fruitful avenue to follow.



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