"The alarming statistic is that 30 to 40 percent of elderly people can't go home because they're so debilitated," says UAMS/VA Dr. William Evans.
His team is apart of a five-year investigation, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health. In the first part of the study already completed and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, doctors found patients lose a significant amount of muscle on bed rest.
"Older people lose three times as much muscle in ten days as younger people lose in 30 days," Dr. Evans says.
Now doctors are looking at whether or not walking fifteen minutes a day over the course of the ten-day study, will help stop that muscle loss. Dr. Evans says he hopes so.
"The notion that bed rest is a therapy is kind of falling by the wayside."
His team is also looking at nutritional intervention and what role medications might play.
"It used to be in the 1950s, the number one therapy for a heart attack was to go to bed for an extended period of time. We now know that early and aggressive cardiac rehabilitation is what keeps people alive."
Dr. Evans' team is still looking for study participants. They want healthy men and women over the age of 60. Participating in the ten-day study comes with a $2,000 stipend. If you're interested in participating or know someone who is, call (501) 526-4925.