Category Archives: Neuromuscular Dysfunction

Neuromuscular Dysfunction in Respiratory Diseases Theme: Neuromuscular dysfunction is an important source of respiratory insufficiency and chronic disability in patients with respiratory diseases. Normal breathing is critically dependent upon adequate functioning of the diaphragm and other respiratory muscles. When these muscles lose mass and strength due to inherited (e.g., muscular dystrophy) or acquired (e.g., due to critical illness, aging) neuromuscular disorders, this can lead to respiratory failure and the need for mechanical ventilation. As such, this theme focuses on identifying the mechanisms responsible for adverse changes in skeletal muscle in respiratory diseases. In addition, this theme explores how they are related to systemic and pulmonary inflammation. Lastly, research focuses on whether novel therapies are capable of preventing muscle atrophy and maintaining muscle strength in respiratory patients.

Major scientific objectives of the neuromuscular dysfunction in respiratory diseases theme include: (1) Elucidate mechanisms of muscle atrophy in the diaphragm and limb muscles of patients with chronic pulmonary diseases. (2) Determine how aging influences the development of muscle atrophy and weakness in respiratory patients. (3) Identify mechanisms of respiratory muscle wasting and injury in non-pulmonary conditions (muscular dystrophy, ICU myopathy). (4) Develop novel therapeutic modalities capable of mitigating muscle atrophy and maintaining muscle strength in the above conditions.

View posts, news, and publications related to this research theme below.

Exercise can lower the risk of muscle wasting associated with aging

Dr. Russell Hepple was interviewed by the New York Times about his work with octogenerian athlete Ed Whitlock. Dr. Hepple performed tests on Whitlock at McGill and found Whitlock has an exceptional VO2 max (54 at age 81) and a largely preserved number of motor muscle units. A study by Dr. Russell Hepple and Dr. Tanja Taivassalo that showed exercise can lower the risk of muscle wasting associated with aging was also featured in the New York Times (Dec and Mar 2016).