Study of Muscle, Mobility and Aging (SOMMA)


Do you ever wonder why your muscles don’t work the way they used to? So do we!

SOMMA, or the Study of Muscle, Mobility, and Aging, is a large university research study that is taking place at two academic clinical centers at the University of Pittsburgh and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. This project is funded by the National Institute of Health. The main purpose of SOMMA is to understand how muscle changes as we age. We hope that this research project will help us understand why some people develop problems walking as they get older. For more details visit:

Who is Eligible

SOMMA is open to men and women, aged 70 years or older who meet the eligibility criteria. You do not need to have mobility impairment or disability to participate.

What is involved

If you are eligible and decide to participate in SOMMA, we will ask you to complete several examinations within the first month and then return at least one time a year for three years, with phone calls between visits. During the course of the study you will complete:

  • Questionnaires: general medical history, medications, diet history, mood, depression, quality of life, tobacco and alcohol use, pain and perceived fatigue
  • Physical tests
  • Memory and paper and pencil tasks
  • Record physical activity levels
  • Blood and urine sample
  • Muscle tissue sample from your thigh
  • We may also collect fat tissue sample from your belly
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test
  • Walking-based treadmill test and Measure of oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production

You will be compensated for your time and effort as well as travel.

Contact Information

If you are interested in participating in SOMMA, please complete the Participant Form (below) or contact the Research Staff at the University of Pittsburgh.

Phone: 800-872-3653

Participation Form

University of Pittsburgh
Center for Aging and Population Health
130 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213