Resistance Training Should Be Standard of Care for All Elderly, UAMS Experts to Tell National Institutes of Health

By todd

William J. Evans, Ph.D., and Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D., were to brief an interdisciplinary audience of scientists and policymakers at a conference on the special aging problems of persons with disabilities.

Evans, director of the Nutrition, Metabolism and Exercise Laboratory at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging at UAMS, was scheduled to explain muscle function and response to exercise in older adults. His address to the NIH audience follows presentations in Salzburg, Austria, July 10 and New York July 16.

Evans has demonstrated that frail nursing home patients as well as other more able-bodied elderly persons clearly benefit from resistance exercise, such as weight-lifting, and has declared that resistance training “should be the standard of care for all elderly people.” His landmark studies have demonstrated the ability of older men and women to improve strength, fitness, and health through exercise, even into the 10th decade of life. He receives grant support from a variety of sources including the National Institutes of Health and the Veterans Administration and is an advisor to NASA. He is the author of AstroFit (Simon & Schuster 2002).

Wei, executive vice chair of the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics in the UAMS College of Medicine, planned to discuss the relationship of aging and cardiac function. On the faculty of Harvard University Medical School from 1987 to 2002, Wei has focused her research on the effects of age on cardiovascular homeostasis, biology of aging, and mechanisms of cardiac dysfunction. She is the author of Aging Well; The Complete Guide to Physical and Emotional Health (John Wiley 2000).

Wei and Evans are part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers and clinicians specializing on aging at UAMS. The UAMS research program has made breakthroughs on the cause of Alzheimer’s disease; an alternative to traditional hormone replacement therapy that has less risk of cancer; and treatment of multiple myeloma, a cancer that primarily strikes older adults, among other age-related health problems.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) convened the conference to focus attention on the increasing number of older individuals with disabilities, resulting from those with serious disabilities living longer, and from the increased prevalence of disabilities associated with aging.