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MRC-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research

A woman holding a the handle of a walking stick

Both the MRC and the charity recognise that musculoskeletal ageing presents significant challenges to individuals, their families/ carers and the whole of the UK (socially and economically). It is considered such an important problem that both funders chose, in 2011, to invest in two complementary centres (CIMA and CMAR).

The MRC-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research (CMAR) was awarded to the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham. Arthritis Research UK contributed £625,000 and the Medical Research Council (MRC) £1,875,000, with extra support from the host institutes.

Research at this centre is focussed on understanding how and why we lose muscle, bone and cartilage as we age, and the role played by factors such as inflammation, metabolism, altered hormones and obesity in this process.

The loss of muscle, bone and cartilage as well as decreased function of the nervous system results in reduced control of movement and balance, which has a number of clinical consequences including osteoarthritis and increased risk of falls and fracture.

Researchers hope to detect the key factors which drive ageing of the cells and tissues that make up the musculoskeletal system. This will allow them to identify new drugs and lifestyle changes, such as exercise and diet, to maintain a healthy musculoskeletal system. This will reduce age related decline and keep individuals healthy and active for longer.

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