The Sarcopenia Project: research into reducing the loss of muscle mass and strength due to ageing

In April, Dr Nigel Quadros and his associate Dr Kandiah Umapathysivam (Sivam) held an information session with Polio SA members about their proposed research on improving the lives of people who experience sarcopenia (the loss of muscle mass and strength due to ageing) as a result of an earlier polio infection.

Sarcopenia and polio survivors

Sarcopenia is characterised by progressive and generalised loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength or function.

Due to nerve cell loss after acute polio viral infection, polio survivors live with sarcopenia at an earlier stage in life compared to the normal ageing population. Immobility-related underactivity is likely to be a major contributor to sarcopenia in polio survivors.

There is no reliable way to differentiate age-related sarcopenia from underactivity-related sarcopenia but both contribute to weakness, fatigue and loss of function.

Both types of sarcopenia may be improved through strengthening exercise and proper nutrition.

About the research project

The Sarcopenia Project aims to improve the lives of people who experience sarcopenia as a result of an earlier polio infection. The research will:

Use current screening tools to detect the prevalence of sarcopenia in people who had polio

Determine if specifically tailored exercises and nutrition and reduce the effects of sarcopenia and improved quality of life

Document results to form the basis of a larger study.

The researchers are currently recruiting people who have had a polio infection to participate in this study.

Participation is entirely voluntary and you are free to withdraw at any stage. The researchers would like to emphasise that the screening tools used to assess sarcopenia are non-invasive and pose no risk to you. All information will be obtained with questionnaires and simple body measurements and no blood tests or radiological investigations will be performed. All data gathered from you will remain strictly confidential and not appear in hospital records.

Participation in this research involves:

  • Filling out the post-polio questionnaire

  • Providing an update of any other medical conditions you may have

  • Providing a list of your current medications

  • Returning the above information with your contact details.

If you are interested in participating in this project or would like to learn more, please contact Polio SA on 0466 893 402 or email