Megan Wang

Supervisor: Diana Mager

Project: Measuring muscle mass and function in children with liver disease

“Through the research in the summer, I strengthened my skills in body composition measurements, patient recruitment, data analysis, and professional communication. These are essential skills required to become a successful clinical nutrition researcher.”

Sarcopenia (low muscle mass and muscle function) has been recently identified in school-aged children up to 10 years after liver transplantation. Sarcopenia in these children was associated with reduced growth and physical activity, and repeat hospitalizations after transplant. All these factors may impact health-related quality of life. 

It is important to understand muscle mass and function in younger children, so early screening and treatment can be provided to vulnerable infants. Sarcopenia has been identified in young infants and children (up to four years of age) with end-stage liver disease before transplantation, but no information is available about both before and after transplantation. 

The purpose of this study is to measure muscle mass, muscle function and growth at the time of liver transplant assessment and three, six and 12 months after liver transplantation in infants and young children between four months and four years of age. Information from this pilot study will help us identify sarcopenia and lead to earlier treatment for this condition in young infants and children with liver disease before and after liver transplantation.

Megan Wang was supervised by Diana Mager and her summer studentship was funded by the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. She is enrolled in the Bachelor of Science Nutrition and Food Science program.