Frailty Linked to Unplanned Readmissions After Elective Outpatient Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
hospital-frailty-surgeryKara Anne Rothenberg.MD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Vascular Surgery
Shipra Arya, MD SM FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
Stanford University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: There is a growing body of literature showing that frailty, a syndrome where patients have increased vulnerability to a stressor (such as surgery), is associated with increased postoperative complications, failure to rescue, and hospital readmissions.

The Risk Analysis Index (RAI), is an easy to use frailty measurement tool that better predicts postoperative mortality than age or comorbidities alone. As the rates of outpatient surgeries rise nationwide, we noted that most of the surgical frailty studies focus only on inpatient surgeries. Elective, outpatient surgery is generally considered low risk for complications and unplanned readmissions, however we hypothesized that for frail patients, it might not be.

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How Functional Are Frail Adults After Aortic Valve Replacement?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dae Hyun Kim, MD, MPH, ScD Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Gerontology, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Dr. Dae Hyun Kim

Dae Hyun Kim, MD, MPH, ScD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife
Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Division of Gerontology, Department of Medicine,
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The number of older adults undergoing aortic valve replacement is increasing.  Since these patients are at high risk for complications and functional decline due to preexisting multimorbidity and frailty, the latest guideline (Otto et al. J Am Coll Cardiol 2017;69:1313–46) emphasizes shared decision-making based on patient-centered outcomes.  Despite this recommendation, we witness many decision-making processes are cardio-centric—mainly informed by expected benefit in terms of cardiac-specific measures.  Many patients are not adequately informed about what their daily life would be like after the procedure.

In this single-center prospective cohort study, we examined functional status trajectories via assessments of global functional status at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months in 246 patients who underwent transcatheter and surgical aortic valve replacement.  We identified 5 clinically meaningful functional trajectories, ranging from high baseline function-early complete recovery to low baseline function-large and persistent decline.  We were able to predict most likely trajectory as well as best possible and worse possible trajectories using the preoperative frailty index.  Delirium and postoperative complications were also strongly associated with undesirable functional trajectories.  Continue reading

Exercise Prevents Falls

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"DSC08418" by Debs (\xf2\u203f\xf3)\u266a is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0Cathie Sherrington FAHMS
Professor, NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
Institute for Musculoskeletal Health
The University of Sydney

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What types of exercise were tested or indicated?

Response: Falls are a very common problem with at least one in three people aged 60+ falling each year. This review included all types of exercises delivered to people aged 60+ in the general community i.e., not those living in supported accommodation and not among people with particular health conditions such as a stroke or Parkinson’s disease.

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Exercise During Hospitalization Improves Physical Functioning in Very Elderly

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"COUCHair for physical therapy" by ewa garniec is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0Mikel Izquierdo PhD
Head and Full professor
Department of Health Sciences
Public University
Navarra, Spain 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Acute hospital admissions are a major contributor to disability in the elderly. Despite resolution of the reason for hospitalization, patients (especially those who are frail) are often discharged with a new major disability. This is a problem that providers of health care and policy makers should prioritize given the expectations of further growth of the population segment composed by old people. 

Traditional models of acute hospitalization for older adults seldom include a comprehensive approach to prevent hospitalization-associated impairment in functional and cognitive capacity. In contrast, exercise and early rehabilitation protocols applied during acute hospitalization can prevent functional and cognitive decline in older patients and are associated with a reduced length of stay and lower costs. Yet, patients with cognitive impairment or multimorbidity at baseline are commonly excluded from exercise intervention trials and only ‘conservative’ or ‘traditional’ programs (i.e., focusing on light walking while avoiding resistance training) have been typically applied to elders who are acutely hospitalized. Our intervention proved safe and effective to reverse the aforementioned impairment. We therefore propose that an individualized prescription of multicomponent exercise should become an inherent part of the routine management of hospitalized older adults.  Continue reading

More Protein in Diet Linked to Slower Disability Decline in Oldest Old

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
""Trash Fish" Sustanable Seafood Dinner" by Edsel Little is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0Nuno Mendonça RD, PhD

Campus for Ageing and Vitality
Newcastle‐upon –Tyne
United Kingdom 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Very old adults, those aged 85 and older, are the fastest growing age group in most western societies and are more likely to develop disability. Dietary protein is a sensible candidate because it may slow decreases in muscle mass and functional decline with aging. Although we know that protein intake is, on average, lower in older adults (a mean of 66 grams per day) compared to younger adults (a mean of 91 grams per day), research exploring protein intake and disability progression in very old adults is limited. We found that our participants from North-East England had four different disability trajectories between the ages of 85 and 90: a) a constant very low disability trajectory (difficulty with none or 1 activity of daily living (ADL))  over the 5 years; b) a low disability trajectory (difficulty with 2 ADLs) that steadily progressed to mild disability (5 ADLs); c) a mild disability score (4 ADLs) at 85 that increased to moderate disability (10 ADLs) by age 90; and d) a moderate disability score (9 ADLs) at baseline that progressed to severe disability (14 ADLs) after 5 years. We found that those with higher protein intake, especially those at or above 1 g per kg of body weight per day (70g of protein per day for a 70 kg person), were less likely to belong to a worse disability trajectory.

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Prehabilitation Seeks to Improve Outcomes in Frail Older Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rakesh Arora MD Department of Surgery, Max Rady College of Medicine University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada Cardiac Sciences Program St Boniface Hospital Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Dr. Rakesh Arora

Rakesh Arora MD PhD
Department of Surgery, Max Rady College of Medicine
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
Cardiac Sciences Program
St Boniface Hospital
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It is increasingly understood that patients with heart disease are getting older and sicker. In Canada, over 5.7 million people are estimated to be aged over 65 years and as a result a greater number of older adults often complex other health issues are now require cardiac procedures.  This places some patients, particular those who are more frail at a higher vulnerability to poorer postoperative outcomes and a complicated recovery process after cardiac surgery.  In addition, such patients experience a reduced quality of life as a result of loss of the ability to independently perform activities of daily living (i.e. as cooking, cleaning, bathing activities, toileting etc).

During the preoperative waiting period, the cardiac symptoms and anxiety induces inactivity that in turn compounds the physical and mental deconditioning. In order to improve the functional capacity and enhance postoperative recovery, prehabilitation (“prehab”), a component of the Enhanced Recovery Protocols (ERPs), may be of particular importance.

Prehabilitation (a.k.a. “prehab”) has been described as a preoperative cardiac rehabilitation intervention, a combination of exercise training, education, and social support, affecting patients’ physical and psychological readiness for surgery with the overarching goal to reduce postoperative complications and hospital length of stay as well as ideally improving the transition from the hospital to the community.   Continue reading

Frail Patients More Likely To Be Readmitted After Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rachel Khadaroo, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Associate Professor of Surgery
Department of Surgery & Division of Critical Care Medicine
University of Alberta

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The elderly are the fastest growing population in North America. There are very few studies that have examined the impact of frailty and age on outcomes following abdominal surgery. Readmissions are expensive have been considered an important quality indicator for surgical care. This study examined 308 patients 65 years and older who were admitted for emergency abdominal surgery in two hospitals in Alberta and followed them for 6 months for readmission or death. Patients were classified into 3 categories: Well, pre-frail (no apparent disability), and frail. Continue reading

Exercise, Vision Testing and Osteoporosis Evaluation Are Keys To Fall Prevention

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrea C. Tricco PhD, MSc Scientist and Lead of the Knowledge Synthesis Team Associate Professor Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto Associate Editor Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, BMC Medical Research Methodology, Systematic Reviews

Dr. Tricco

Andrea C. Tricco PhD, MSc
Scientist and Lead of the Knowledge Synthesis Team
Associate Professor Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
Associate Editor Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, BMC Medical Research Methodology, Systematic Reviews

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults and account for $2 billion in direct health-care costs annually ($31 billion in costs to Medicare in the United States in 2012). We aimed to determine which types of fall-prevention programs may be effective for reducing falls in older people.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Exercise, along with vision assessment and treatment, as well as an assessment and possible modification of a person’s living environment, reduced the risk of injurious falls by 23% compared to usual care.

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Elderly Frail Patients At Higher Risk Of Mortality After Dialysis Initiation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Silvi Shah, MD, FACP, FASN Assistant Professor, Division of Nephrology University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH

Dr. Shah

Silvi Shah, MD, FACP, FASN
Assistant Professor, Division of Nephrology
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Elderly represent the fastest growing segment of incident dialysis patients in Unites States. The annual mortality in end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients is very high ~ 20%. Since most of the deaths occur in the first year of dialysis, it is possible that health conditions present prior to initiation of dialysis may impact long-term outcomes.

In this study, we determined the impact of poor functional status at the time of dialysis initiation and pre-dialysis health status on type of dialysis modality, type of hemodialysis access and one-year mortality in elderly dialysis patients. We evaluated 49,645 adult incident dialysis patients (1/1/2008 to 12/31/2008) from the United Data Renal Data System (USRDS) with linked Medicare data for at least 2 years prior to dialysis initiation. Mean age of our study population was 72 years. At dialysis initiation, 18.7% reported poor functional status, 88.9% has pre-dialysis hospitalization, and 27.8% did not receive pre-dialysis nephrology care. Patients with poor functional status had higher odds of being initiated on hemodialysis than peritoneal dialysis, lower odds of using arteriovenous access as compared to central venous catheter for dialysis and higher risk of one-year mortality.

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Inactivity Plus Frailty Predict Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Olga Theou, MSc PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University Affiliated Scientist, Geriatric Medicine, Nova Scotia Health Authority Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide Halifax, Nova Scotia

Dr. Theou

Olga Theou, MSc PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University
Affiliated Scientist, Geriatric Medicine, Nova Scotia Health Authority
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide
Halifax, Nova Scotia 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We already know that moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, such as time accumulated during exercise, is associated with numerous health benefits. More recent studies also have shown that sedentary time, such as time accumulated during prolonged sitting at work, transportation, and leisure, can also increase the risk of adverse outcomes. What was not known was whether prolonged sitting affects people across different levels of frailty similarly. This is what we examined in our study.

We found that there were differences. Low frailty levels (people who are extremely healthy; frailty index score < 0.1) seemed to eliminate the increased risk of mortality associated with prolonged sitting, even among people who did not meet recommended physical activity guidelines. Among people with higher frailty levels, sedentary time was associated with mortality but only among those who did not meet recommended physical activity guidelines

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Best Case/Worst Case Framework Helps Surgeons Communicate With Frail Seriously Ill Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Margaret L Schwarze, MD, MPP Associate Professor Division of Vascular Surgery University of Wisconsin

Dr. Margaret Schwarze

Margaret L Schwarze, MD, MPP
Associate Professor
Division of Vascular Surgery
University of Wisconsin

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Surgery can have life-altering consequences for frail older adults, yet many undergo an operation during the last year of life. Surgeons commonly rely on informed consent to disclose risks of discrete complications; however, this information is challenging for patients to interpret with respect to their goals and values.

Our research group developed a communication framework, called Best Case/Worst Case, to change how surgeons communicate with patients facing serious illness.  Surgeons use the framework to describe the best, worst, and most likely scenarios to present a choice between valid treatment alternatives and help patients imagine how they might experience a range of possible treatment outcomes.

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Walking 900 Steps Can Prevent Functional Decline in Hospitalized Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Maayan Agmon, PhD The Cheryl Spencer Department of Nursing Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Studies University of Haifa Haifa, Israel

Dr. Maayan Agmon

Maayan Agmon, PhD
The Cheryl Spencer Department of Nursing
Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Studies
University of Haifa
Haifa, Israel

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: To address the issue of functional decline during and post hospitalization . Up to 40% of older adults decline in their function at the time of hospitalization and acute illness. Most part of this functional decline is not explained by illness itself. So far, we know that in-hospital mobility is a protective factor but how much walking is required to prevent this decline has yet to be determined.

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Frailty Screening Can Predict Postoperative Survival

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Daniel E. Hall, MD, MDiv, MHSc, FACS Associate Professor of Surgery University of Pittsburgh Staff Surgeon VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Core Investigator VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion. PIttsburgh, PA

Dr. Daniel E. Hall

Daniel E. Hall, MD, MDiv, MHSc, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
University of Pittsburgh Staff Surgeon
VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Core Investigator
VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion.
PIttsburgh, PA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: A growing body of research demonstrates that frailty is a more powerful predictor of postoperative outcomes than risk-prediction models based on age or comorbidity alone. However, it has not been clear if surgeons could intervene on frailty to improve outcomes.

This study reports what we believe to be the first ever demonstration that it is not only feasible to screen an entire health system for frailty, but that it is possible to act on that information to improve outcomes. Every patient evaluated for elective surgery was screened for frailty with a brief tool that takes 1-2 minutes to complete. Those identified as potentially frail and thus at greater risk for poor surgical outcomes received an ad-hoc administrative review aimed at optimizing perioperative care. After implementing the frailty screening initiative, we observed a 3-fold increase in long-term survival at 6 and 12 months—even after controlling for age, frailty, and predicted mortality.

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Walking Can Help Older Adults Recover From Major Disability More Quickly

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Thomas M. Gill, M.D. Humana Foundation Professor of Geriatric Medicine Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology & Investigative Medicine Director, Yale Program on Aging/Pepper Center

Dr. Thomas M. Gill

Thomas M. Gill, M.D.
Humana Foundation Professor of Geriatric Medicine
Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology & Investigative Medicine
Director, Yale Program on Aging/Pepper Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Maintaining independent mobility is an important goal of clinical medicine and public health, especially among older persons, who are at the greatest risk for disability.

By adopting a walking routine and other moderate physical activities, older adults can recover from a major disability more quickly, and maintain their independence over time.

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Health and Economic Burden of Falls Expected To Surge

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gwen Bergen, PhD Division of Unintentional Injury National Center for Injury Prevention and Control CDC

Dr. Gwen Bergen

Gwen Bergen, PhD
Division of Unintentional Injury
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Older adult falls are the leading cause of injury death and disability for adults aged 65 years and older (older adults). In this study, we analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. Our study found that, in 2014, older Americans reported 29 million falls. Almost a quarter of these or 7 million falls required medical treatment or restricted activity for at least one day. Women reported a higher percentage of falls (30%) compared with men (27%). Whites and American Indian/Alaskan Natives (AI/AN) were more likely to fall compared with Blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders; and AI/AN were more likely to report a fall injury compared with all other racial/ethnic groups. The percentage of older adults who reported a fall varied by state, ranging from 21% in Hawaii to 34% in Arkansas.

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Addition of Virtual Reality To Treadmill Training Reduced Falls in Older Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anat Mirelman, PhD Director- Laboratory of Early Markers of Neurodegeneration (LEMON) Center for the study of Movement , Cognition and Mobility (CMCM) Department of Neurology Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv 64239, Israel

Dr. Anat Mirelman

Anat Mirelman, PhD
Director- Laboratory of Early Markers of Neurodegeneration (LEMON)
Center for the study of Movement , Cognition and Mobility (CMCM)
Department of Neurology
Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center
Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv 64239, Israel

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The main aim of this research was to evaluate the efficacy of using a motor cognitive training using virtual reality in reducing fall frequency and fall risk in older adults.

Falls are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in older adults. The prevalence of falls is huge, with one out of every 3 adults aged 65 years or older will fall at least once per year, with approximately half of these fallers suffering multiple falls in this period . These statistics are even higher in neurodegenerative conditions such as in Parkinson’s disease and in people with cognitive impairments. For example, studies have shown that as much as 80% of people with Parkinson’s disease fall each year. So many older adults are falling.
The consequences of falls are huge.

The most dramatic result is hip fracture. But this is relatively rare. However, even in the absence of a fracture or other injury, falls often lead to fear of falling, social isolation, and depression, which in turn often leads to inactivity, muscle weakness, impaired balance and gait, more falls, more social isolation. In other words, falls often start a vicious cycle, which has many important negative health consequences. Falls are associated with morbidity and mortality and they also have a huge economic impact. In many western countries, 1-2% of healthcare dollars are spent on falls.

For many years, age-associated changes in muscle strength, balance and gait were viewed as the key factors that contribute to the risk of falls. However, more recently, we and others showed that certain aspects of cognition are also critical to safe ambulation. For example people with AD often fall, almost to the same amount as people with PD, highlighting the cognitive component of falls. This makes sense intuitively if we Imagine the cognitive skills we need just to cross a busy intersection. These tasks require executive function, specially, planning, the ability to avoid obstacles, and the ability to perform two or more tasks at the same time.

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Injuries From Falls Cost Medicare Almost As Much As Cancer Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Elizabeth Burns, MPH Health Scientist, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control CDC

Elizabeth Burns MPH

Elizabeth Burns, MPH
Health Scientist, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among Americans aged 65 and older. In 2000, the direct cost of falls were estimated to be $179 million for fatal falls and $19 billion for non-fatal falls. Fall injuries and deaths are expected to rise as more than 10,000 Americans turn 65 each day. Within the next 15 years, the U. S. population of older Americans is anticipated to increase more than 50%, with the total number of older adults rising to 74 million by 2030.

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Patients Remain On High Risk Drugs Even After A Fragility Fracture

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jeffrey Munson, MD, MSCE Assistant Professor The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

Dr. Jeffrey Munson

Jeffrey Munson, MD, MSCE
Assistant Professor
The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine
Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? 

Response: Fragility fractures due to osteoporosis are a common and costly event among older Americans. Patients who experience one fragility fracture are at increased risk to have a second fracture. Our group is interested in exploring ways in which the risk of a second fracture could be reduced.

In this paper, we studied prescription drug use both before and after fracture. We know many prescription drugs have been shown to increase the risk of fracture, but we don’t know whether doctors try to reduce the use of these drugs after a fracture has occurred. Our study was designed to answer this question.

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Self-Reported Assessment Provides Reliable Measure of Frailty

MedicalResearch.com Interview with

Oleg Zaslavsky PhD Assistant Professor at the department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health System School of Nursing University of Washington

Dr. Oleg Zaslavsky

Oleg Zaslavsky PhD
Assistant Professor at the department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health System
School of Nursing
University of Washington

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Frailty is a common, but serious medical condition among older adults. It is characterized by weight and muscle loss, fatigue, slow walking and low levels of physical activity. It’s important to accurately diagnose and treat frailty, especially because demographic trends show the percentage of U.S. adults age 65 years and older will increase 19% by 2030.

Frailty is commonly assessed by the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) frailty phenotype, which includes a set of physical measurements for slowness, weakness, fatigue, low physical activity and body-weight loss. According to the CHS phenotype, individuals with three or more of these characteristics are at increased risk for falls, hip fractures, disability and mortality. Although the CHS phenotype is good for predicting adverse conditions, it requires direct measurement of physical performance. Refining the phenotype so it doesn’t involve physical measurements of patients in a doctor’s office has practical advantages for research and clinical purposes.

For this study, University of Washington School of Nursing researchers worked with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center faculty to refine the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) frailty phenotype, originally developed in 2005. This new phenotype uses self-reporting from patients instead of measurements of physical performance to determine frailty and associated health outcomes.

In this report, we show that our newly-proposed WHI measuring scheme performs as well as the more complex CHS phenotype in predicting death, hip fractures and falls in older women.

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Therapeutic Target To Reverse Muscle Wasting in Aging Identified

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. David Sebastián IRB Barcelona and CIBERDEM researcher

Dr. David Sebastián

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. David Sebastián
IRB Barcelona and CIBERDEM researcher

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: One of the alterations that most affects the quality of life of the elderly is muscle wastage and the resulting loss of strength, a condition known as sarcopenia. At about 55 years old, people begin to lose muscle mass, this loss continues into old age, at which point it becomes critical. However, the underlying causes of sarcopenia are unknown and thus no treatment is available for this condition.

Importantly, we have found that the mitochondrial protein Mitofusin 2 is required to preserve healthy muscles in mice. Mitofusin 2 is a mitochondrial protein involved in ensuring the correct function of mitochondria, and it has several activities related to autophagy, a crucial process for the removal of damaged mitochondria. The loss of Mitofusin 2 impedes the correct function of mitochondrial recycling and consequently damaged mitochondria accumulate in muscle cells.

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Intensive Glucose Control Still Attempted in Frail Patients, Risking Hypoglycemia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rozalina McCoy, M.D Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Primary Care Internal Medicine Department of Medicine Mayo Clinic Rochester

Dr. Rozalina McCoy

Rozalina McCoy, M.D
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Primary Care Internal Medicine
Department of Medicine
Mayo Clinic Rochester

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. McCoy: Hypoglycemia is a serious potential complication of diabetes treatment; it worsens quality of life and has been associated with cardiovascular events, dementia, and even death. Most professional societies recommend targeting HbA1C levels less than 6.5% or 7%, with individualized treatment targets based on patient age, other medical conditions, and risk of hypoglycemia with therapy. Treating patients to very low HbA1c levels is not likely to improve their health, especially not in the short-term, but can cause serious harms such as hypoglycemia. The goal of our study was to assess how frequently patients with type 2 diabetes are treated intensively, focusing specifically on patients who are elderly or have serious chronic conditions such as dementia, kidney disease including dialysis need, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and cancer. Moreover, while prior studies have suggested that intensive treatment may be common, there was no strong evidence that intensive treatment does in fact increase risk of hypoglycemia. Our study was designed specifically to assess this risk.

We examined medical claims, pharmacy fill data, and laboratory results of 31,542 adults with stable and controlled type 2 diabetes who were included in the OptumLabs™ Data Warehouse between 2001 and 2013. None of the patients were treated with insulin or had prior episodes of severe hypoglycemia, both known risk factors for future hypoglycemic events. None of the patients had obvious indications for very tight glycemic control, such as pregnancy.

“Intensive treatment” was defined as being treated with more glucose-lowering medications than clinical guidelines consider to be necessary given their HbA1C level. Patients whose HbA1C was less than 5.6 percent (diabetes is defined by HbA1C 6.5 percent or higher) were considered intensively treated if they were taking any medications. Patients with HbA1C in the “pre-diabetes” range, 5.7-6.4 percent, were considered to be intensively treated if using two or more medications at the time of the test, or if started on additional medications after the test, because current guidelines consider patients with HbA1C less than 6.5 percent to already be optimally controlled. For patients with HbA1C of 6.5-6.9 percent the sole criteria for intensive treatment was treatment intensification with two or more drugs or insulin.

The patients were separated by whether they were considered clinically complex (based on the definition by the American Geriatrics Society)—75 years of age or older; or having end-stage kidney disease, dementia; or with three or more serious chronic conditions. This distinction has been made to help identify patients for whom adding glucose-lowering medications is more likely to lead to treatment-related adverse events, including hypoglycemia, while not providing substantial long-term benefit.

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Multiple Chronic Conditions Accumulating Over Time Lead To Frailty

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alanna Chamberlain, PhD Assistant Professor of Epidemiology Mayo Clinic College of Medicin

Dr. Alanna Chamberlain

Alanna Chamberlain, PhD
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Chamberlain: The number of elderly individuals in the US will double by the year 2050 and these individuals will become increasingly frail as they get older. Frailty has been recognized by doctors and researchers as an important contributor to poor health and declines in quality of life among older adults. However, it is difficult to measure frailty because it’s not due to a single condition. Instead, multiple health problems tend to accumulate over time until a person becomes increasingly frail. It is important to understand how frailty develops as patients age and how changes in frailty are related to outcomes. To address these questions, we followed individuals over 8 years to identify changes in frailty over time, to describe how people cluster (follow similar trajectories of frailty over time), and to examine how these changes relate to emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and death in a large population from Olmsted County, MN.

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Impaired Gait Speed Predicts Adverse Events in Heart Failure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Giovanni Pulignano, MD, FANMCO
Dirigente Cardiologo/ Senior Cardiologist
I UO Cardiologia /UTIC/Gruppo Operativo Interdisciplinare Scompenso Cardiaco
Heart Failure Unit/ Cardiology Unit/CCU
Azienda Ospedaliera San Camillo-Forlanini, Roma
S.Camillo-Forlanini Hospital, Rome, Italy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Pulignano:  As the population ages, heart failure (HF)is becoming increasingly common, with a high burden of disability, morbidity, and mortality. A significant proportion of patients with heart failure are frail and have impairments in gait speed.

The prognosis of older patients depends not only on cardiac diseases or comorbidities but also on geriatric conditions, such as disability, cognitive impairment, and frailty, as a consequence of their biological heterogeneity. We chose gait speed as a marker of frailty for its high feasibility – requiring just a corridor and a digital stopwatch – and added it to the 3C-HF score, a well validated heart failure model with a high predictive performance for including comorbidities, in order to improves risk stratification in older patients.

In our study nearly 35% of patients showed severely reduced gait speeds that were significantly associated with an increased 1-year event rate, independent of conventional heart failure prognostic factors.

Besides confirming the association with mortality and hospitalizations, when added to the 3C-HF score, indeed, gait speed improved its prognostic accuracy, allowing us to reclassify patients in more appropriate risk categories.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Pulignano:  This is the first study to test the incremental value of gait speed in predicting prognosis in older patients with heart failure in combination with a validated clinical risk score, the 3C-HF. Frailty assessment using gait speed is simple and inexpensive, and its measurement could be easily incorporated in the routine clinical evaluation of older patients with HF. In times of financial restraints affecting national health services, an accurate assessment of the individual risk for adverse outcomes focused on a tailored therapy and informed shared decision making is warranted. Early detection of frailty in patients with heart failure may lead to interventions to prevent or reverse the development of frailty itself, such as regular physical exercise and balanced nutrition, to improve not only function and quality of life but also survival, if possible

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Pulignano:  According to our results, we can speculate that frail patients with heart failure may be enrolled in long-term management programs that incorporate geriatric assessment, HF clinics, and exercise, aimed at the prevention of functional decline and clinical events. However, it has yet to be determined whether targeting frailty with interventions may actually improve patient-centered and clinical outcomes. Thus, the optimal design of these interventions and their impact on outcomes is still an area of investigation; further studies should address this issue.

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Citation:

Pulignano G, Del Sindaco D, Di Lenarda A, et al. Incremental Value of Gait Speed in Predicting Prognosis of Older Adults With Heart Failure: Insights From the IMAGE-HF Study.JCHF. 2016;():. doi:10.1016/j.jchf.2015.12.017.

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More Medical Research Interviews on MedicalResearch.com

Dr. Giovanni Pulignano (2016). Impaired Gait Speed Predicts Adverse Events in Heart Failure MedicalResearch.com

Hip Fractures and Falls Increase Years Before Parkinson’s disease Diagnosed

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Helena Nyström MD, PhD Candidate Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation Umeå University Umeå, Sweden

Helena Nyström

Helena Nyström MD, PhD Candidate
Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation
Umeå University
Umeå, Sweden

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: Parkinson’s disease (PD) has an insidious onset and the prodromal phase, preceding the onset of the characteristic PD symptoms, may last for decades. Most prodromal signs previously reported are of non-motor type, such as sleep and mood disorders. However, recent studies have reported balance problems and an increased risk of accidental injuries in the last 3-5 years before diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease , and in a previous study we found a lower muscle strength at military conscription in men who were diagnosed with  Parkinson’s disease three decades later. In this study, we aimed to investigate if such subtle strength deficits may translate into an increased risk of fall-related injuries.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: The median study time was 20 years before the diagnosis of  Parkinson’s disease , and during this time more individuals with PD (18%) than controls (11.5%) had at least one fall-related injury. The risk was most increased in the last few years before the diagnosis of  Parkinson’s disease , but a difference between the groups appeared already a decade before the PD diagnosis. The risk of hip fracture was increased during the entire study time of 26 years before the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease .

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Frail Patients Much More Likely To Die After Surgery

More on Frailty on MedicalResearch.com
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Daniel I McIsaac

Dr. Daniel McIsaac

Dr. Daniel I McIsaac, MD, MPH, FRCPC
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
Department of Anesthesiology
The Ottawa Hospital, Civic Campus
Ottawa, ON

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. McIsaac: Older age is a well-known risk factor for adverse outcomes after surgery, however, many older patients have positive surgical outcomes. Frailty is a syndrome that encompasses the negative health attributes and comorbidities that accumulate across the lifespan, and is a strong discriminating factor between high- and low-risk older surgical patients.  By definition, frail patients are “sicker” than non-frail patients, so their higher rates of morbidity and mortality after surgery aren’t surprising. However, frailty increases in prevalence with increasing age, so as our population ages we expect to see more frail people presenting for surgery.  Our goal was to evaluate the impact of frailty on postoperative mortality at a population-level, and over the first year after surgery to provide insights that aren’t available in the current literature, which largely consists of single center studies limited to in-hospital and 30-day outcome windows.

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10% of Patients Receiving Implantable Defibrillators Are Frail Or Have Dementia

Ariel R. Green, M.D., M.P.H Assistant Professor of Medicine Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Dr. Green

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ariel R. Green, M.D., M.P.H

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) are widely used to prevent sudden cardiac death in patients with systolic heart failure. Older adults with heart failure often have multiple coexisting conditions and are frail, increasing their risk of death from non-cardiac causes. Our understanding of outcomes in older patients with ICDs is limited.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Our major finding was that more than 10% of patients currently receiving ICDs for primary prevention of sudden cardiac death (meaning that they have never had a potentially lethal arrhythmia but are at risk for one, usually due to systolic heart failure) are frail or have dementia.​ Patients with these geriatric conditions had substantially  higher mortality within the first year after ICD implantation than those without these conditions. Frailty and dementia were more strongly associated with mortality than were traditional comorbidities such as diabetes.

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Frailty Linked To Lower Survival in Lung Transplant Patients

Cassie Kennedy, M.D. Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine Mayo Clinic

Dr. Cassie Kennedy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Cassie Kennedy, M.D.
Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine
Mayo Clinic 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Kennedy: Lung transplant is a surgical procedure that can offer extended life expectancy and improved quality of life to selected patients with end-stage lung disease. However there are about 1700 patients awaiting lung transplant at any given time in the United States because transplant recipients far exceed potential donors.  In addition, even with carefully chosen candidates, lung transplant recipients live on average about 5.5 years.  It is therefore very important for transplant physicians to choose patients who will receive the most benefit from their lung transplant.

Frailty (defined as an increased vulnerability to adverse health outcomes) has typically been a subjective consideration by transplant physicians when choosing lung transplant candidates.  The emergence of more objective and reproducible frailty measures from the geriatric literature present an opportunity to study the prevalence of frailty in lung transplant (despite that subjective screening) and to determine whether the presence of frailty has any impact on patient outcomes.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Kennedy: Frailty is quite common –46 percent of our patient cohort was frail by the Frailty Deficit Index. We also saw a significant association between frailty and worsened survival following lung transplantation: one-year survival rate for frail patients was 71.7 percent, compared to 92.9 percent for patients who were not frail. At three years this difference in survival persisted–the survival rate for frail patients was 41.3 percent, compared to 66.1 percent for patients who were not frail.

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Subtle Infections May Cause Falls In Elderly

Farrin A. Manian, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, FSHEA Inpatient Clinician Educator, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital Visiting Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Farrin A. Manian, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, FSHEA
Inpatient Clinician Educator,
Department of Medicine,
Massachusetts General Hospital
Visiting Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02114

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Manian:  Falls are a leading cause of injury and death, afflicting about one-third of adults over 65 years of age annually.  Although there are many potential causes for falls, infections have received very little attention, with previous published reports primarily revolving around institutionalized elderly with dementia and urinary tract infection.

We found that the spectrum of patients at risk for falls precipitated by infections goes far beyond the institutionalized elderly with dementia and urinary tract infection.  In fact, the majority of our patients fell at home and did not have a diagnosis of dementia.  In addition, besides urinary tract infections which accounted for 44.1% of cases, bloodstream (40.0%) and lower respiratory tract infections (23.0%) were also frequently represented.  Although the mean age of our patients was 76 years, 18% were younger than 65 years.  We also found that the signs and symptoms of these infections at the time of the presentation for the fall were often non-specific (e.g. weakness or mental status changes) or absent, with only 44% of patients meeting the criteria for systemic inflammatory response syndrome and only 20% having fever or abnormal temperature possibly related in part to advanced age.  These factors may make it difficult for the patient, family members and healthcare providers to readily consider infections contributing to the fall.  In fact a coexisting systemic infection was not initially suspected by providing clinicians in 40% of our patients and 31% of those who were later diagnosed with a bloodstream infection.
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Study Addresses Dairy Consumption and Frailty in Older Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Alberto Lana
Department of Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Public Health Area
School of Medicine and Health Sciences
University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Lana: Healthy diets are associated with lower risk of frailty among elderly, but we thought that knowing the role of particular foods is essential to establish prevention measures. Dairy products are substantial sources of proteins, vitamins, and minerals, especially for older adults. Thus, dairy products could theoretically reduce the incidence of frailty. But high milk consumption could also have deleterious effects because it adds saturated fatty acids to diet and could increases oxidative stress. So the advice regarding dairy consumption remains unclear.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Lana: According to our results, clinicians should recommend replacing whole-fat products with low-fat ones. Generally, patients should be educated to perform always healthy dietetic choices.

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Exercise May Be More Effective Than Vitamin D In Reducing Falls

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kirsti Uusi-Rasi, PhD, Adjunct Professor
Senior Researcher
UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research
Tampere Finland

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Kirsti Uusi-Rasi: Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries and fractures in
older adults, head injuries and fractures being the most severe
consequences. Therefore, falls prevention is important when trying to
prevent injuries. There is strong high-quality evidence from previous
studies that exercise that includes strength and balance training can
reduce the risk of falling in older adults. However, there are also
studies that have reported no benefit in reducing the actual incidence
of falls. Effects of vitamin D have also been studied widely, and
vitamin D is known to be vital for bone metabolism and health.
However, results regarding effects on falls and fractures are
inconsistent. Furthermore, persons with low vitamin D levels (serum
25OHD) have been associated with lower physical performance and
greater decline in physical functioning, but clinical trials exploring
the role of vitamin D in reducing falls and fractures and in improving
physical functioning are inconclusive. Because there is hardly any
evidence about exercise and vitamin D together, we investigated the
separate and combined effects of multimodal exercise training and
vitamin D supplementation in reducing falls and injurious falls among
older women at risk for falling.

We assigned 409 participants randomly to one of four groups with:
1)vitamin D 800 IU/day and exercise
2) placebo and exercise
3) vitamin D 800 IU/day without exercise
4) placebo without exercise.

Exercise consisted of strength, balance, mobility and agility group training.

At the end of two years, exercise seemed to be more effective in
reducing injurious falls in this age group, with or without vitamin D.
Exercise also improved physical functioning (strength, balance and
mobility). In general, the training program was well tolerated with no
severe adverse effects or injuries. Vitamin D helped maintain femoral
neck BMD and increased trabecular bone density at the tibia. Our study
also suggests that the current vitamin D recommendation (800 IU/d for
older people) is adequate.

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