Del Brutto OH, Mera RM, Cagino K, et al.

Geriatr Gerontol Int 2016; Jan 21 [Epub ahead of print]

Publication date: January 21, 2016


Frailty is a geriatric state of physical vulnerability that might be associated with cognitive decline in the absence of a concurrent neurodegenerative disorder. This assumes that neuroimaging studies are normal, but such examinations have rarely been considered for a frailty work-up. The present study identifies neuroimaging signatures in older adults interviewed with the Edmonton Frail Scale (EFS).

Community-dwellers aged >60 years enrolled in the Atahualpa project were invited to undergo brain magnetic resonance imaging, using generalized regression models. Del Brutto et al. evaluated the association between frailty and diffuse cortical and subcortical brain damage, after adjusting for relevant confounders. Multivariate models estimated the interaction of age in the association between frailty and these neuroimaging signatures.

Out of 298 participants (mean age 70 ± 8 years, 57% women), 151 (51%) had moderate-to-severe cortical atrophy and 74 (25%) had moderate-to-severe white matter hyper intensities of presumed vascular origin. Mean EFS scores were 5 ± 3 points, with 140 (47%) individuals classified as robust, 65 (22%) as pre-frail and 93 (31%) as frail. Multivariate models showed a significant association between cortical atrophy with the continuous (P = 0.002) and the categorized (P = 0.008) EFS score. The relationship between white matter hyper intensities and the EFS was marginal. According to interaction models, prefrail or frail individuals aged ≥67 years presented more prominent neuroimaging signatures of diffuse cortical or subcortical damage than their robust counterparts.


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