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Weight Loss in Older Persons: New Therapeutic Approaches

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There is now a large body of evidence that weight loss in older persons not only increases mortality, but also increases the incidence of hip fracture, functional deterioration and institutionalization. Weight loss is a central component of frailty. There is evidence that it is not only muscle, but also fat loss that leads to these deleterious effects. The reasons why fat loss can be harmful in older persons are reviewed. There are four major causes of weight loss in older persons viz. anorexia, sarcopenia, cachexia and dehydration. This review concentrates on the major causes of anorexia and sarcopenia. In particular, the emergence of new medications such as selective androgen receptor molecules, antimyostatin analogues, megestrol acetate (nanocrystal formulation), and ghrelin agonists are reviewed. The potential role of anabolic steroids is also discussed.
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Keywords: Weight loss; anorexia; cachexia; frailty; new medications; sarcopenia

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Geriatric Medicine,Saint Louis University Medical Center, 1402 S. Grand Blvd., M238,St. Louis, MO 63104 USA.

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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  • Current Pharmaceutical Design publishes timely in-depth reviews covering all aspects of current research in rational drug design. Each issue is devoted to a single major therapeutic area. A Guest Editor who is an acknowledged authority in a therapeutic field has solicits for each issue comprehensive and timely reviews from leading researchers in the pharmaceutical industry and academia.

    Each thematic issue of Current Pharmaceutical Design covers all subject areas of major importance to modern drug design, including: medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, drug targets and disease mechanism.
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