Woods AJ, Cohen RA, Pahor M

J Nutr Health Aging 2013;17:741-3

Publication date: November 1, 2013


The authors comment on the report of an international consensus conference on cognitive frailty published in the September 2013 of theJournal of Nutrition, Health & Aging.

This effort was motivated by growing awareness that many people with physical frailty are also prone to cognitive problems. While age-associated cognitive dysfunction has been studied for many years, for the most part it was not conceptualized in a manner that is consistent with current definitions of physical frailty.

How is cognitive frailty different from cognitive reserve? Cognitive reserve refers to the capacity of a given individual to resist cognitive impairment or decline. Kelaiditi et al. maintain that “cognitive frailty is characterized by reduced cognitive reserve”. While cognitive reserve is an important element of cognitive frailty, it is also dependent on the existence of physical frailty.

Defining cognitive frailty depends on determining its diagnostic criteria. Other than physical frailty, the primary criteria proposed by Kelaiditi et al. is the presence of mild cognitive impairment as defined by a clinical dementia rating (CDR) score of 0.5, without Alzheimer’s disease or another progressive brain disturbance that would lead to dementia.

Prospective studies will be needed to assess the reliability and predictive validity of the operational measure of cognitive frailty.


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