Did I really say sarcastic penis? Yes, it’s an in-your-face way to remember the term sarcopenia.
Sarco means muscular tissue. Penia means loss of a bodily component. So sarcopenia is an abnormal loss of lean muscle mass. This occurs during the aging process, becoming significant in those ages 65 years and older. It causes a loss of muscle quality and strength.
A protein, called myostatin normally limits your muscles from growing too large. If muscular development is excessive one would no longer be able to perform normal tasks with agility.
Think of a bulked up Mr. America and how those enormous muscles limit full body movement.
In old age, things go drastically wrong with mycostatin. This protein leads to significant muscle loss, resulting in the elderly becoming frail. A condition that may result in falls, disability and death.
What if a medication could be developed to lessen myostatin’s negative effects on musculature? If taken by seniors, this drug could reduce the decline in physical functioning with regards to lean muscle mass. Treatment would increase quality of life for millions of patients throughout the world. It could serve to lower nursing home admissions. This alone could lower healthcare costs to a far greater degree than ObamaCare.
The story of regenerating muscles started in ’97 when scientists developed the “Mighty Mice.” These rodents were genetically designed to have at least twice as much muscle as the conventional mouse. Researchers achieved this by blocking mycostatin. Today, studies have advanced to include humans. If all goes well, the first drug to reduce frailty may be available in 2016.
As with all new medications, I would advise a great deal of caution with regards to long term safety. The negative effects of a drug remind me of a bureau with multiple drawers. Elderly sarcopenia is an open drawer within a bureau. When this medication is approved in the near future it will close the drawer on this disease of the aged. Problem is, with chronic use of blocking off mycostatin, will other drawers start coming out? This jack-in-the-box pop-out type of reaction indicates that effects of the drug may cause long-term problems worse than just frailty. Most good physicians wait at least three years post FDA approval for prescribing any new medications. Unless the current situation of that particular patient outweighs the potential negative effects of the drug.
In addition to safety, Renovating Your Mind sees another problem with a possible FDA approval in 2016. Sarcopenia currently is not classified as a disease. Most medications are approved for a specific disease. They may have to update medical books to reclassify this condition to a disease state before the FDA can give it the drug a thumbs up for Americans.
Getting back to the penis, many refer to it as the muscle of love. In reality, Mr. Dick, is spongy tissue that fills with blood when man gets excited. When it swells and stiffens, the blood is forced to stay within the spongy tissue. This causes the erection. When the situation softens up, it allows the blood to drain and allows the little guy to loop down again.
Photo credit: excitingsounds / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)