No pharmacologic intervention has yet been approved for the treatment of sarcopenia. Only exercise and nutritional support via increased protein intake have been shown to significantly improve this condition. As such, lifestyle interventions aiming to increase physical exercise and/or protein intake are recommended for the prevention, management, and treatment of sarcopenia.
The aim of this systematic review was to assess the intervention (exercise or nutrition alone, against a combination of both) best able to improve sarcopenia. This improvement was measured in older adults using the skeletal muscle index (SMI), handgrip, and gait speed.
Cancer cachexia is a multifactorial syndrome that leads to progressive wasting which cannot be fully reverse through nutritional interventions. There is currently no clear method for the management of cachexia, but exercise seems to hold promising potential. Exercise may provide anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects, which may prove important in aiding with cachexia due to its correlation with inflammation and oxidative stress. Furthermore, exercise improves muscle strength and function, which can improve quality of life for those with cancer cachexia. However, there is very scarce evidence for this, and even some evidence contradicting the benefit of exercise due to the risk of over-extending the patients.
This review by Murphy BT et al. aimed to shine light on both sides of the complex discussion surrounding the benefits of exercise in aiding with cancer cachexia.