Revolutionizing Aging: Researchers Pioneer Magnetic Therapy to Combat Physical Declines

Researchers at the National University of Singapore are pioneering an innovative magnetic muscle therapy that improves mobility and body composition in older adults.

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Revolutionizing Aging: Researchers Pioneer Magnetic Therapy to Combat Physical Declines
3 Min Read June 7th, 2023

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed an innovative magnetic muscle therapy that may reverse aging-related physical declines such as reduced mobility, muscle strength loss, and increased body fat. The treatment, known as pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy, was tested in a community study on 101 participants aged 38 to 91.

Findings from the 12-week trial showed significant improvements in mobility and body composition, especially among older participants. Pain perception was also reduced after three months of magnetic muscle therapy. 

The study was conducted by NUS Institute for Health Innovation & Technology (iHealthtech), NUS start-up QuantumTX, and Healthy Longevity Translational Research Program under the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.

Stimulating Muscles

The trial involved weekly 10-minute sessions of the BIXEPS device, invented by NUS researchers in 2019, which emits very low levels of PEMF. The device stimulates leg muscles, triggering cell activity akin to exercising. Previous studies demonstrated systemic improvements, including better whole-body metabolism and blood lipid profile changes, following magnetic muscle therapy.

According to Associate Professor Alfredo Franco-Obregón, a Principal Investigator with NUS iHealthtech and co-founder of QuantumTX, 85% of trial participants experienced PEMF-associated improvements, regardless of age. He stated that the therapy could offer therapeutic value comparable to exercise for older individuals.

Assoc Prof Alfredo Franco-Obregón (standing, right), Principal Investigator at NUS Institute for Health Innovation & Technology, and Ms Sharanya Venugobal (standing, left), Clinical Research Coordinator at QuantumTX, with 79-year-old BIXEPS user Mr George Teo.

Data on participants' body composition was collected weekly during the study. Results showed that 72% reported improved muscle maintenance and decreased total and visceral fat levels after eight weeks. Additionally, 85% showed improvements in functional mobility after 12 weeks, primarily older participants.

May Reduce Frailty in Older Adults

This therapy could provide a valuable addition to traditional geriatric interventions aimed at reducing frailty and metabolic disorders in older adults. Notably, visceral fat, linked to metabolic disorders like diabetes, was reduced through this therapy - a significant breakthrough for regions like Southeast Asia, where individuals retain visceral fat more tenaciously despite exercise.

Future research will involve controlled clinical trials in the U.S. and Hong Kong to further validate the therapy's benefits. A senior-focused study is also underway in Singapore to evaluate how this technology can improve function and alleviate chronic pains in older adults. 

With the growing aging population, ways to maintain muscle strength and mobility and improve the overall quality of life. 

Muscles and Aging - Planning Vital

The progressive decline of muscle strength and mobility is a typical symptom of aging, which can considerably increase the risk of requiring long-term care. This age-related deterioration affects a person's daily activities and overall quality of life. It contributes to an increased vulnerability to falls and injuries. 

Ultimately, these factors can lead to a heightened need for supportive care services, burdening individuals' finances and families. It's vital, therefore, to prioritize preventative measures and effective interventions to mitigate these potential health and financial risks.

While there can be measures to improve overall health and mobility, aging itself cannot be stopped. A body will decline, and chronic health problems, including dementia, will require many people to need help with daily living activities or supervision due to dementia. 

Being proactive with your health and retirement planning is vital for enjoying a fulfilling future retirement. Many people look at adding Long-Term Care Insurance to ensure quality care access and ease family burden and stress. Most people start planning in their 40s or 50s. 

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About the Author

Linda Maxwell is a retired journalist who now focuses on writing about topics that captivate her, such as aging, health, long-term care, and retirement issues. Her aim is to maintain an active and engaged mind, and through her writing, she hopes to help others stay positively engaged with life.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

Editor's Note

Preparing for aging involves more than just saving money for retirement. It also requires a proactive approach to maintaining good health. With age, the risks of chronic diseases, mobility issues, and cognitive decline increase, potentially impacting an individual's ability to live independently. Therefore, incorporating a robust wellness plan into your retirement preparation is just as crucial as a sound financial plan.

Start by focusing on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical exercise not only helps preserve muscle strength and improve mobility, but it also plays a significant role in cognitive health. Adopting a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains contributes to the prevention of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

Early detection of health issues can often lead to more effective treatments and better outcomes. Regular check-ups and preventive screenings should also be a priority. Don't underestimate the importance of mental health, either. Stay socially engaged, continually learn new things, and seek help if you're feeling depressed or anxious.

Parallel to these health-related initiatives, build a comprehensive retirement plan. A well-structured plan should account for potential long-term care needs, which may involve hiring caregivers or moving to an assisted living facility. Long-Term Care Insurance can be an essential part of your retirement plan, helping cover the high costs of care that Medicare doesn't cover.

Don't forget to consider your housing situation. Do you plan to stay in your current home, downsize, or move to a retirement community? Making necessary home modifications for aging in place, or moving to a more manageable home, can help ensure safety and ease of living as mobility decreases.

Always involve a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find appropriate coverage at the lowest cost. Most people start planning in their 40s or 50s. 

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Because Long-Term Care Insurance is medically underwritten, be sure to obtain coverage when you still enjoy good health. Most people obtain LTC Insurance in their 40s or 50s as part of an overall comprehensive retirement plan when their health is good, and premiums are low. 

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A specialist will ask detailed questions about your health, family history, and retirement plans to match you with the best options. You will get accurate quotes and recommendations, usually immediately, unless you have unusual health.

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