As reported by a new study carried out by scientists at Nova Scotia Health Authority and Dalhousie University in Canada and Rush University Medical Center in the USA, frailty in old age boosts the risk of dementia. The researchers reached that conclusion after analyzed the data gathered from the 456 healthy adults over the age of 59, who presented no signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers asked the participants to complete cognitive tests and neurological examinations, once a year over ten years of research. Among the subjects, 53% of them were deemed as high risk for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Besides the cognitive test and neurological examinations, the scientists also came up with a so-called frailty index which estimated 41 health component including mobility, diet, join and cardiovascular issues, fatigue, and osteoporosis.
The study revealed a surprising fact, that frailty in old age boosts the risk of dementia.
Frailty in old age increases the risk of dementia, the new study concluded
As reported by the researchers in their paperwork published in The Lancet Neurology Journal, according to the brain autopsies the scientists conducted after the participants died, those people who presented higher levels of frailty also developed dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other cognitive-related conditions.
“By reducing an individual’s physiological reserve, frailty could trigger the clinical expression of dementia when it might remain asymptomatic in someone who is not frail. This indicates that a ’frail brain’ might be more susceptible to neurological problems like dementia as it is less able to cope with the pathological burden,” explained Professor Kenneth Rockwood, the study’s leading author.
“While more research is needed, given that frailty is potentially reversible, it is possible that helping people to maintain function and independence in later life could reduce both dementia risk and the severity of debilitating symptoms common in this disease,” Rockwood concluded.