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      Lean Tissue Imaging : A New Era for Nutritional Assessment and Intervention

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          Body composition refers to the amount of fat and lean tissues in our body; it is a science that looks beyond a unit of body weight, accounting for the proportion of different tissues and its relationship to health. Although body weight and body mass index are well-known indexes of health status, most researchers agree that they are rather inaccurate measures, especially for elderly individuals and those patients with specific clinical conditions. The emerging use of imaging techniques such as dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasound imaging in the clinical setting have highlighted the importance of lean soft tissue (LST) as an independent predictor of morbidity and mortality. It is clear from emerging studies that body composition health will be vital in treatment decisions, prognostic outcomes, and quality of life in several nonclinical and clinical states. This review explores the methodologies and the emerging value of imaging techniques in the assessment of body composition, focusing on the value of LST to predict nutrition status.

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          Most cited references 90

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          Sarcopenia: European consensus on definition and diagnosis

          The European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP) developed a practical clinical definition and consensus diagnostic criteria for age-related sarcopenia. EWGSOP included representatives from four participant organisations, i.e. the European Geriatric Medicine Society, the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics—European Region and the International Association of Nutrition and Aging. These organisations endorsed the findings in the final document. The group met and addressed the following questions, using the medical literature to build evidence-based answers: (i) What is sarcopenia? (ii) What parameters define sarcopenia? (iii) What variables reflect these parameters, and what measurement tools and cut-off points can be used? (iv) How does sarcopenia relate to cachexia, frailty and sarcopenic obesity? For the diagnosis of sarcopenia, EWGSOP recommends using the presence of both low muscle mass + low muscle function (strength or performance). EWGSOP variously applies these characteristics to further define conceptual stages as ‘presarcopenia’, ‘sarcopenia’ and ‘severe sarcopenia’. EWGSOP reviewed a wide range of tools that can be used to measure the specific variables of muscle mass, muscle strength and physical performance. Our paper summarises currently available data defining sarcopenia cut-off points by age and gender; suggests an algorithm for sarcopenia case finding in older individuals based on measurements of gait speed, grip strength and muscle mass; and presents a list of suggested primary and secondary outcome domains for research. Once an operational definition of sarcopenia is adopted and included in the mainstream of comprehensive geriatric assessment, the next steps are to define the natural course of sarcopenia and to develop and define effective treatment.
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            Prevalence and clinical implications of sarcopenic obesity in patients with solid tumours of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts: a population-based study.

            Emerging evidence on body composition suggests that sarcopenic obesity (obesity with depleted muscle mass) might be predictive of morbidity and mortality in non-malignant disease and also of toxicity to chemotherapy. We aimed to assess the prevalence and clinical implications of sarcopenic obesity in patients with cancer. Between Jan 13, 2004, and Jan 19, 2007, 2115 patients with solid tumours of the respiratory or gastrointestinal tract from a cancer treatment centre serving northern Alberta, Canada, were identified. Available lumbar CT images of the obese patients were analysed for total skeletal muscle cross-sectional area; these values were also used to estimate total body fat-free mass (FFM). Of the 2115 patients initially identified, 325 (15%) were classified as obese (body-mass index [BMI] > or =30). Of these obese patients, 250 had CT images that met the criteria for analysis. The remaining 75 patients were recorded as without assessable scans. Obese patients had a wide range of muscle mass. Sex-specific cut-offs that defined a significant association between low muscle mass with mortality were ascertained by optimum stratification analysis: 38 (15%) of 250 patients who had assessable CT images that met the criteria for analysis were below these cut-offs and were classified as having sarcopenia. Sarcopenic obesity was associated with poorer functional status compared with obese patients who did not have sarcopenia (p=0.009), and was an independent predictor of survival (hazard ratio [HR] 4.2 [95% CI 2.4-7.2], p<0.0001). Estimated FFM showed a poor association with body-surface area (r(2)=0.37). Assuming that FFM represents the volume of distribution of many cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs, we estimated that individual variation in FFM could account for up to three-times variation in effective volume of distribution for chemotherapy administered per unit body-surface area, in this population. This study provides evidence of the great variability of body composition in patients with cancer and links body composition, especially sarcopenic obesity, to clinical implications such as functional status, survival, and potentially, chemotherapy toxicity.
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              Epidemiology of sarcopenia among the elderly in New Mexico.

              Muscle mass decreases with age, leading to "sarcopenia," or low relative muscle mass, in elderly people. Sarcopenia is believed to be associated with metabolic, physiologic, and functional impairments and disability. Methods of estimating the prevalence of sarcopenia and its associated risks in elderly populations are lacking. Data from a population-based survey of 883 elderly Hispanic and non-Hispanic white men and women living in New Mexico (the New Mexico Elder Health Survey, 1993-1995) were analyzed to develop a method for estimating the prevalence of sarcopenia. An anthropometric equation for predicting appendicular skeletal muscle mass was developed from a random subsample (n = 199) of participants and was extended to the total sample. Sarcopenia was defined as appendicular skeletal muscle mass (kg)/height2 (m2) being less than two standard deviations below the mean of a young reference group. Prevalences increased from 13-24% in persons under 70 years of age to >50% in persons over 80 years of age, and were slightly greater in Hispanics than in non-Hispanic whites. Sarcopenia was significantly associated with self-reported physical disability in both men and women, independent of ethnicity, age, morbidity, obesity, income, and health behaviors. This study provides some of the first estimates of the extent of the public health problem posed by sarcopenia.

                Author and article information

                JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr
                JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr
                JPEN. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
                SAGE Publications (Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA )
                November 2014
                November 2014
                : 38
                : 8
                : 940-953
                [1 ]Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
                [2 ]Pennington Biomedical Research Center Baton Rouge, Louisiana
                Author notes
                Carla M. M. Prado, PhD, Alberta Institute for Human Nutrition, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, 4-002 Li Ka Shing Centre, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P5, Canada. Email: carla.prado@
                © 2014 American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (



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