Cesari M, Andrieu S, Rolland Y, Nourhashemi F, Vellas B

J Nutr Health Aging 2013;17:735-7

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.

The term “cognitive frailty”, they note, is used to describe the presence of both physical frailty and cognitive impairment in the absence of neurodegenerative dementia. By a priori excluding diagnoses of dementia as cause of the detected cognitive impairment, other domains of the health status are automatically and implicitly indicated as determinants of the “cognitive frailty” condition. In other words, the proposed condition might also have been presented as a “physical frailty-related cognitive impairment”.

Is the concept of cognitive frailty not already covered by the multidimensional concept of the frailty syndrome? Indeed, the risk of becoming redundant exists, especially if a holistic approach is used in the assessment, evaluation, and treatment of age-related conditions. However, a direct evaluation of cognitive function is not part of the frailty phenotype. The condition of cognitive frailty depicted by Kelaiditi and colleagues assumes that the frailty syndrome per se is responsible for the cognitive impairment. The entity of “cognitive frailty” should be considered as a screening condition to detect rather than a formal diagnosis to directly treat. More refined and accurate biomarkers of dementia will better support the identification of cognitive impairment cases related to non-neurodegenerative causes, that is will improve the detection of “real” cognitive frailty.


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