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FRAILTY - Prevalence of Reduced Muscle Strength in Older U.S. Adults: United States, 2011–2012. Recently, the American NCHS published national estimates of muscle strength in older adults in the United States in 2011-2012, based on maximum hand grip strength. Weak muscle strength is clinically relevant, because of its associations with mobility impairment. The report shows that 5% of adults aged 60 and over had weak muscle strength, 13% had intermediate muscle strength, while 82% had normal muscle strength. The prevalence of reduced (weak and intermediate) muscle strength increased with age, while the prevalence of normal strength decreased with age. Muscle strength status did not differ by sex, except among persons aged 80 and over, where women had a higher prevalence of weak muscle strength than men. Non-Hispanic Asian and Hispanic persons had a higher prevalence of reduced muscle strength than non-Hispanic white persons. Authors: Looker, AC, Wang, C-Y. NCHS Data Brief, No. 179, January 2015. Full text at


FRAILTY - Cognitive frailty, a novel target for the prevention of elderly dependency. In a recent review published in Ageing Research Reviews, Ruan Qingwei and colleagues discuss their view on cognitive frailty. They propose that cognitive impairment related to cognitive frailty results from physical or pre-physical frailty and can be classified into two sub-types: 1) the “reversible” cognitive impairment, which the authors claim is associated with the presence of subjective cognitive decline and/or biomarkers of amyloid-β and neurodegeneration and 2) the “potentially reversible” one, which they associate with mild cognitive impairment (defined as CDR=0.5).
The term cognitive frailty was introduced into the literature relatively recently, in an attempt to encapsulate the cognitive decline that is often observed in non-demented elderly individuals who are physically frail. Ever since, there has been much debate about what cognitive frailty actually is. The prevailing hypothesis is that the pathophysiology underlying cognitive decline in the frailty syndrome is different from that driving the cognitive trajectory in neurodegenerative disorders. Insofar as frailty is a predictor of major health-related events (including dementia), one possibility is that frail subjects are more vulnerable to the onset and development of age-related neuropathologies, including Alzheimer’s disease. From this perspective, individuals identified as cognitively frail potentially represent a novel target for primary and secondary prevention strategies for dementia. However, to date the exact neurobiological substrates of the so-called cognitive frailty, and to what extent these are reversible, remain unknown. More research is needed to help define what cognitive frailty is, so the field can advance. Authors: Ruan Q, Yu Z, Chen M, Bao Z, Li J, He W, Ageing Res Rev. 2014 Dec 30;20C:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2014.12.004. [Epub ahead of print].

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