Interested in helping Slocum and University of Oregon researchers discover better ways to recover after knee surgery?  Consider participating in our Amino Acid Supplementation & Total Knee Replacement Research Study funded by the National Institute on Aging, which is one of the National Institutes of Health.

The goal of the research is to determine if providing amino acid supplementation (building blocks for protein) can stimulate recovery and reduce muscle loss after surgery. Our preliminary studies suggest taking essential amino acid supplements prior to surgery and for two weeks after surgery helps prevent muscle atrophy.

Who Can Participate? Patients having total knee replacement surgery performed by Dr. Jewett, Dr. Lantz, Dr. Mohler, or Dr. Shah may be able to participate. Your physician and the study coordinator from the Slocum Foundation will determine whether or not you qualify for the study.

What’s Involved? Each participant will be randomly assigned to either receive the essential amino acid supplement or a placebo, which is a small drink without any essential amino acid supplement. Like a coin flip, you have about a 50-50 chance of receiving the real essential amino acid supplement. You would need to take the supplement two times per day, after breakfast and lunch, one week before surgery and six weeks after surgery.

Patients will be asked to have MRIs so we can measure muscle volume in both legs. In addition to taking the supplement, we need to test how strong you are before surgery and how well you can do certain activities. For example, we would ask you to walk as far as you are able for six minutes. You would also be asked to wear a pedometer that measures you level of activity each day and record your food intake in a daily food diary.

While you are in the hospital and under anesthesia, your surgeon will be taking a biopsy of your muscles. After your surgery, staff from RiverBend hospital will collect blood samples each morning before you have breakfast.

You will be asked to have biopsies during and after surgery and repeat many of the study procedures you had before surgery (example: MRI, tests that measure your ability to move around).

A study coordinator from the Slocum Foundation will make sure you understand all the steps and procedures, as well as the risks and potential benefits, involved in the study before you agree to participate.

Has anyone participated in a study like this before? Yes, Drs. Jewett, Lantz and Shah participated in the pilot data project. The pilot data was published in the Fall of 2013. You can read the study results in the Journal of Clinical Investigation:

What can you tell me about the potential benefits of the study?  Our preliminary studies suggest taking essential amino acid supplements prior to surgery and for two weeks after surgery prevents muscle atrophy. Preventing muscle atrophy is important because improving muscle strength and functional after knee replacement may decrease recovery time; however, this is part of what we are investigating. There is a chance you would receive the placebo (no real supplement), in which case you may not benefit from study participation directly, but you would play an important part in helping us determine whether or not EAA supplementation is beneficial.

Who can I contact to find out more information? You may contact your physician or the Slocum Foundation at 541.868.3232 or email

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