Frailty is a common condition associated with old age, characterized by weight loss, weakness, decreased activity level and reduced mobility, which together increase the risk of injury and death. Yet, not all elderly people become frail; some remain vigorous and robust well into old-age.
The question remains: why?
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have been awarded a $3.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the role of genetics in protecting against frailty. The study will be led by Nir Barzilai, M.D., director of the Institute for Aging Research and the Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert Chair in Aging Research at Einstein and attending physician, medicine at Montefiore Medical Center, and Joe Verghese, M.B.B.S., the Murray D. Gross Memorial Faculty Scholar in Gerontology at Einstein, chief of geriatrics at Einstein and Montefiore and director of the Montefiore Einstein Center for the Aging Brain.
“People who are frail are more vulnerable to serious complications from falls or surgery and more susceptible to infection,” Verghese said. “Understanding why some elderly people do not experience a loss of balance or strength and do not suffer from abnormal gait may help us prevent and treat such physical decline.”
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