Signs of frailty, and the risks involved, could be identified both in the young and in the elderly through a new assessment developed in a study conducted by researchers from the Universities of Strathclyde, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Yale ..
The increased risk of fragility is a distinctive feature of the aging process, but does not have a precise clinical definition and currently there are no analytical techniques capable of accurately quantifying its state.
Furthermore, little is known about the biological mechanisms underlying frailty, but new research has revealed a series of blood biomarkers capable of predicting its extension. Later on, it could potentially achieve this with young people like between 20 and 30 years old.
The assessment could also determine whether a patient would be able to resist intensive treatment cycles, such as chemotherapy, as well as helping to understand, prevent, treat or minimize age-related disorders.
The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.
The dott. Nicholas Rattray, member of the Chancellor at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, led the study. He said: "Being able to measure a person's state of frailty is currently a very subjective clinical assessment and is ultimately causing a delay in the personalization of therapeutic options for frail patients.
"Using state-of-the-art analytical techniques such as mass spectrometry-based metabolomics, this research has opened the door to developing ways to quickly and accurately quantify fragility and apply this knowledge directly to the environment clinical.
"We believe this assessment is the first of its kind. It could lead to a much deeper understanding of the aging process and how to potentially develop intervention strategies to age poorly."
Professor Roy Goodacre of the University of Liverpool said: "I am excited about this work as this shows that large-scale metabolomics showed clear biochemical changes in fragile people who could lead to therapy for the first time for the first time to restore these individuals return to a resistant phenotype that will improve the quality of life ".
Professor James Nazroo, of the University of Manchester, said: "These fundamentally important results open the way to the provision of accurate diagnostic procedures to identify the risk of frailty, but also to understand the mechanisms underlying this risk and the possibility of intervening to reduce the risk and the negative consequences that derive from fragility. "
Professor Neil Pendleton of the University of Manchester said that "the identification of frailty is complex and requires skills not widely available. The use of these results could offer the potential to expand diagnostic opportunities when interventions are possible. "
Although there is currently no widely accepted clinical or biomedical definition of fragility, there are a number of clinical scoring metrics or weaknesses that can help in assessing a patient's resilience. They include measures of physical fitness, falls and fractures, vision, hearing, chronic illness and depression.
The researchers analyzed blood serum samples from 1191 people aged 56 to 84 and followed 786 participants four years later. They weighed and identified the molecules in the samples from the blood of 1200 elderly people, using automatic learning to classify the bio-signatures of fragility.
A series of 12 metabolites – substances produced in the metabolism – have been identified and have been found to differentiate frail and non-fragile people.
The research was funded by the Medical Research Council of the United Kingdom.
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