Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 139  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 968-969

Body composition and aging

Department of Biochemistry University of Calcutta Kolkata 700 019, India

Date of Web Publication4-Aug-2014

Correspondence Address:
Mrinal K Poddar
Department of Biochemistry University of Calcutta Kolkata 700 019
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Poddar MK. Body composition and aging. Indian J Med Res 2014;139:968-9

How to cite this URL:
Poddar MK. Body composition and aging. Indian J Med Res [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Jan 20];139:968-9. Available from:

C.V. Mobbs, P.R. Hof, editors (Karger, Basel, Switzerland) 2010. 198 pages. Price: CHF 188.00 / US$ 221.00

ISBN 978-3-8055-9521-6

This book with a focus on the causes and consequences of age-related changes in body composition using animal models contains 11 chapters contributed by individual authors (or along with co-authors), who are the experts in the field of different aspects of gerontology, e.g. physiology, nutrition, physiopathology, medicine, genetics, etc. The objective of this book was to provide a comprehensive knowledge and at the same time focusing on animal models examining the causes and consequences of age-related changes in body composition including human.

The first chapter deals with the influence of different aspects of adiposity such as abdominal obesity, visceral fat, ectopic fat, and subcutaneous fat in ageing and its key role in determining lifespan. Based on the studies discussed it has been suggested that body fat distribution accounting is an important determinant in relation to measure disease risk and importance of preventing ectopic and visceral fat accrual for improving health span and longevity.

The second chapter on the obesity paradox during ageing describes that the role of adiposity and mortality during ageing is more complex than it appears. In fact, increased adiposity (as suggested) plays a paradoxically protective role to increase pathology yet reduce mortality in the elderly.

The third and fourth chapters like the second one, present extensive studies on human and animals at the level of age-related changes in the expression and action of neuroendocrine factors involved in regulation of food intake, and suggest converse dangers of reduced body mass index (BMI) secondary to reduction in appetite during ageing, which seems to be as deleterious as obesity.

The fifth and sixth chapters employ human, rat (rodents) and Caenorhabditis elegans (hermaphroditic soil nematodes) to suggest that the two important changes in body composition, i.e., increase in adiposity and decrease in muscle mass during human ageing, may be almost universal features of ageing in the animal world. In this context it may be mentioned that the author of the fifth chapter suggests to combine whole body measures [by quantitative magnetic resonance (QMR) spectroscopy, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) or Carcass composition analyses] with assessment of specific components either by dissection or by MRI for proper assessment of body composition in rats of different ages.

The sixth chapter highlights recent studies in C. elegans focusing processes analogous to human adiposity and sarcopenia. The author also suggests from his observation a possible development of a new hypothesis about aetiology of these conditions in humans that can be tested using rodent models and clinical studies.

The conclusion of the universal features of ageing in animals described in the fifth and sixth chapters is supported in the next three chapters entitled Sarcopenia: Prevalence, Mechanisms and Functional Consequences; mTOR Signaling as a Target of Amino Acid Treatment of the Age-Related Sarcopenia; and Mitochondrial Theory of Ageing in Human Age-Related Sarcopenia.

The next chapter entitled "Exercise as a Calorie Restriction Mimetic: Implications for Improving Healthy Aging and Longevity", addresses the key as well as the fundamental question of the efficacy of exercise in wear and tear (ameliorating) age-related impairments, and represents a comparative impact of calorie restriction (CR), exercise and CR plus exercise on healthy ageing and longevity (maximum life span) in rodents and humans.

The last chapter represents the various cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying age-related bone loss - a third major age-related change in body composition. This chapter focuses on current concepts of age-related bone loss in humans. It also represents a concept as to how different animals and cellular models have extended the existing knowledge in this complex fascinating area. Age-related changes in neuronal, hormonal and biochemical aspects and their effect on bone have also been discussed. This chapter also outlines the relationship between bone and fat in the marrow and the fate of the marrow mesenchymal stromal cell density/population which may develop either bone forming osteoblasts or fat forming adiposcytic cells as a function of age.

To conclude, this book is an excellent review of the current concepts and knowledge on body composition and ageing. This book seems to be useful and beneficial to the gerontologists or researchers interested in this field.


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