Theme three

The interventions to improve musculoskeletal health and function

This theme involves assessment mainly of lifestyle, but also pharmacological interventions in healthy, frail and disease populations to improve musculoskeletal health and function, including approaches to increase adoption of lifestyle change.

The theme involves Principal Investigators and their teams and benefits from access to clinical research facilities and trials units at both The University of Nottingham and the University of Birmingham.

Physical activity and nutritional interventions form the largest element of this theme.

  • Professor Carolyn Greig combines nutrition (the leucine metabolite HMB) with resistance exercise to increase muscle function in frail elders in a community setting. She is also part of a consortium investigation into Vitamin D and protein supplementation to improve muscle function;
  • Dr Leigh Breen is working with industry to test a range of nutrients, including fish oils and phosphatidic acid to improve muscle quality;
  • Professor Kostas Tsintzas is evaluating the efficacy of diet and exercise interventions on metabolism, including the timing of exercise in relation to nutrient intake;
  • Dr Beth Phillips is using high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in a pre-habilitation setting, testing its ability to build up musculoskeletal reserve in older patients undergoing elective surgery; 
  • Larger scale and community-based evaluations are carried out by several researchers in the Centre. Professors John Gladman, Pip Logan and Tahir Masud all evaluate physical activity enhancement and falls prevention programmes in the community;
  • Professor Janet Lord is testing anabolic agents (DHEA) for their ability to overcome trauma-related (hip fracture as well as major trauma) sarcopenia and re-set the HPA axis; 
  • Professor Dagmar Scheel-Toellner has identified a novel B cell population, FcRL4 expressing, that accumulates with age and in rheumatoid arthritis and are major autoimmune effectors. She is working with industry via a Medical Research Council Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme grant to develop antibodies to delete these cells as a treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis;
  • Professors Liam Grover and Duncan Shepherd are developing delivery methods for cell therapy to regenerate bone, cartilage and tendons; 
  • Dr Ned Jenkinson is using non-invasive brain stimulation to improve motor control;
  • This theme is also developing approaches to motivate people to make lifestyle changes with Dr Sally Fenton applying self-determination theory to increase physical activity and reduce pain and fatigue in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

This theme is led by

Professor Carolyn Greig

(University of Birmingham)

and Dr Mario Siervo

(University of Nottingham)