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The present study evaluates the effects of a 6-month treatment with an ACE-inhibitor (ie, fosinopril) on serum concentrations of total IGF-1 and IGF binding protein (IGFBP)-3 in older adults at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
Data are from the Trial of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibition and Novel Cardiovascular Risk Factors (TRAIN) study, a double-blind, crossover, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.
Participants were recruited from the communities of Winston Salem, NC, and Greensboro, NC.
Subjects ≥55 years old with high cardiovascular disease risk profile.
The intervention consisted of 6-month administration of fosinopril vs. placebo.
Serum concentrations of total IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 were measured in 100 participants of the TRAIN study at baseline, 6-month and 12-month follow-up visits. Differences in total IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 concentrations were assessed using two-sided paired t-tests.
The mean age of participants (47% women) was 66.5 (standard deviation 7.2) years. Serum concentrations of total IGF-1 were significantly higher after 6-month treatment with fosinopril compared to placebo (203.73 ng/mL vs 194.24 ng/mL; p=0.02): After ACE-inhibitor intervention, significantly higher serum IGFBP-3 concentrations compared to controls (4308.81 ng/mL vs 4086.93 ng/mL; p=0.03) were also reported.
A six-month treatment with fosinopril increases systemic levels of total IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 in older adults with high cardiovascular risk profile. This may represent a potential biological explanation to the beneficial effects of ACE-inhibition on stroke, ischemic heart disease and insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC4311891  PMID: 20617288
Angiotensin Converting Enzyme inhibitor; Insulin like growth factor 1; Insulin like growth factor binding protein 3; older adults
Despite the existing limitations and controversies regarding the definition of sarcopenia and its clinical consequences, the current scientific evidence strongly suggests that muscle decline is a primary determinant of the disabling process (and likely of other major health-related events). In fact, the muscle loss (in terms of mass as well as strength) occurring with aging has been growingly associated with mobility impairment and disability in older persons. Unfortunately, current evidence is mainly from observational studies. Times are mature to begin testing interventions aimed at modifying the sarcopenia process through the design and development of specific clinical trials. Considering the emergence of many promising interventions towards this age-related condition (e.g., physical exercise [in particular, resistance training], testosterone, antioxidant supplementations), the need for Phase II trial designs is high. In the present report, we discuss which are the major issues related to the design of Phase II clinical trials on sarcopenia with particular focus on the participant's characteristics to be considered as possible inclusion and exclusion criteria.
PMCID: PMC4311892  PMID: 21968872
3.  Mitochondrial dysfunction and sarcopenia of aging: from signaling pathways to clinical trials 
Sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass and function, imposes a dramatic burden on individuals and society. The development of preventive and therapeutic strategies against sarcopenia is therefore perceived as an urgent need by health professionals and has instigated intensive research on the pathophysiology of this syndrome. The pathogenesis of sarcopenia is multifaceted and encompasses lifestyle habits, systemic factors (e.g., chronic inflammation and hormonal alterations), local environment perturbations (e.g., vascular dysfunction), and intramuscular specific processes. In this scenario, derangements in skeletal myocyte mitochondrial function are recognized as major factors contributing to the age-dependent muscle degeneration. In this review, we summarize prominent findings and controversial issues on the contribution of specific mitochondrial processes – including oxidative stress, quality control mechanisms and apoptotic signaling – on the development of sarcopenia. Extramuscular alterations accompanying the aging process with a potential impact on myocyte mitochondrial function are also discussed. We conclude with presenting methodological and safety considerations for the design of clinical trials targeting mitochondrial dysfunction to treat sarcopenia. Special emphasis is placed on the importance of monitoring the effects of an intervention on muscle mitochondrial function and identifying the optimal target population for the trial.
PMCID: PMC3759621  PMID: 23845738
mitophagy; vascular dysfunction; fusion and fission; apoptosis; biomarkers
4.  Frailty Consensus: A Call to Action 
Frailty is a clinical state in which there is an increase in an individual’s vulnerability for developing increased dependency and/or mortality when exposed to a stressor. Frailty can occur as the result of a range of diseases and medical conditions. A consensus group consisting of delegates from 6 major international, European, and US societies created 4 major consensus points on a specific form of frailty: physical frailty. Physical frailty is an important medical syndrome. The group defined physical frailty as “a medical syndrome with multiple causes and contributors that is characterized by diminished strength, endurance, and reduced physiologic function that increases an individual’s vulnerability for developing increased dependency and/or death.”Physical frailty can potentially be prevented or treated with specific modalities, such as exercise, protein-calorie supplementation, vitamin D, and reduction of polypharmacy.Simple, rapid screening tests have been developed and validated, such as the simple FRAIL scale, to allow physicians to objectively recognize frail persons.For the purposes of optimally managing individuals with physical frailty, all persons older than 70 years and all individuals with significant weight loss (≥5%) due to chronic disease should be screened for frailty.
PMCID: PMC4084863  PMID: 23764209
Frailty; physical frailty; rapid screening tests; weight loss; comorbidities
5.  A Self-Reported Screening Tool for Detecting Community-Dwelling Older Persons with Frailty Syndrome in the Absence of Mobility Disability: The FiND Questionnaire 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101745.
The “frailty syndrome” (a geriatric multidimensional condition characterized by decreased reserve and diminished resistance to stressors) represents a promising target of preventive interventions against disability in elders. Available screening tools for the identification of frailty in the absence of disability present major limitations. In particular, they have to be administered by a trained assessor, require special equipment, and/or do not discriminate between frail and disabled individuals. Aim of this study is to verify the agreement of a novel self-reported questionnaire (the “Frail Non-Disabled” [FiND] instrument) designed for detecting non-mobility disabled frail older persons with results from reference tools.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Data are from 45 community-dwelling individuals aged ≥60 years. Participants were asked to complete the FiND questionnaire separately exploring the frailty and disability domains. Then, a blinded assessor objectively measured the frailty status (using the phenotype proposed by Fried and colleagues) and mobility disability (using the 400-meter walk test). Cohen's kappa coefficients were calculated to determine the agreement between the FiND questionnaire with the reference instruments. Mean age of participants (women 62.2%) was 72.5 (standard deviation 8.2) years. Seven (15.6%) participants presented mobility disability as being unable to complete the 400-meter walk test. According to the frailty phenotype criteria, 25 (55.6%) participants were pre-frail or frail, and 13 (28.9%) were robust. Overall, a substantial agreement of the instrument with the reference tools (kappa = 0.748, quadratic weighted kappa = 0.836, both p values<0.001) was reported with only 7 (15.6%) participants incorrectly categorized. The agreement between results of the FiND disability domain and the 400-meter walk test was excellent (kappa = 0.920, p<0.001).
The FiND questionnaire presents a very good capacity to correctly identify frail older persons without mobility disability living in the community. This screening tool may represent an opportunity for diffusing awareness about frailty and disability and supporting specific preventive campaigns.
PMCID: PMC4084999  PMID: 24999805
6.  Mitochondrial DNA sequence associations with dementia and amyloid-β in elderly African Americans 
Neurobiology of aging  2013;35(2):442.e1-442.e8.
Mitochondrial dysfunction occurs early in the course of several neurodegenerative diseases, and is potentially related to increased oxidative damage and amyloid-β (Aβ) formation in Alzheimer’s disease. The goals of this study were to assess mtDNA sequence associations with dementia risk, 10-year cognitive change, and markers of oxidative stress and Aβ among 1089 African-Americans in the population-based Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study. Participants were free of dementia at baseline, and incidence was determined in 187 (18%) cases over 10 to 12 follow-up years. Haplogroup L1 participants were at increased risk for developing dementia (odds ratio = 1.88, 95% confidence interval = 1.23–2.88, p = 0.004), lower plasma Aβ42 levels (p = 0.03), and greater 10-year decline on the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (p = 0.04) when compared with common haplogroup L3. The p.V193I, ND2 substitution was associated with significantly higher Aβ42 levels (p = 0.0012), and this association was present in haplogroup L3 (p = 0.018) but not L1 (p = 0.90) participants. All associations were independent of potential confounders, including APOEε4 status and nuclear genetic ancestry. Identification of mtDNA sequence variation associated with dementia risk and cognitive decline may contribute to the development of new treatment targets and diagnostic tests that identify responders to interventions targeting mitochondria.
PMCID: PMC4019378  PMID: 24140124
Dementia; Mitochondria; mtDNA; Amyloid-β; Oxidative stress
7.  Horse-Racing Effect and Clinical Trials in Older Persons 
PMCID: PMC4099961  PMID: 25076906
clinical trials; study design; elderly; frailty; randomization; horse-racing effect; clinical research; methodology
8.  Sarcopenia and Physical Frailty: Two Sides of the Same Coin 
PMCID: PMC4112807  PMID: 25120482
elderly; aging; disability; preventive medicine; physical performance; geriatric assessment; skeletal muscle; definition and concepts
9.  Predictors of decline in walking ability in community-dwelling Alzheimer’s disease patients: Results from the 4-years prospective REAL.FR study 
The aim of this study was to explore the predictors of decline in walking ability in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
The prospective REseau surla maladie ALzheimer FRançais (REAL.FR) study enrolled six hundred eighty four community-dwelling AD subjects (71.20% women; mean age 77.84 Standard Deviation, SD, 6.82 years, Mini-Mental State Examination 20.02, SD 4.23). Decline in walking ability was defined as the first loss of 0.5 points or more in the walking ability item of the Activities of Daily Living scale (ADL), where higher score means greater independence, during the four-years of follow-up. Demographic characteristics, co-morbidities, and level of education were reported at baseline. Disability, caregiver burden, cognitive and nutritional status, body mass index, balance, behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, medication, hospitalization, institutionalization and death were reported every six months during the four years. Cox survival analyses were performed to assess the independent factors associated with decline in walking ability.
The mean incident decline in walking ability was 12.76% per year (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 10.86 to 14.66). After adjustment for confounders, the risk of decline in walking ability was independently associated with older age (Relative Risk, RR = 1.05 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.08)), time from diagnosis of dementia (RR = 1.16 (1.01 to 1.33)), painful osteoarthritis (RR = 1.84 (1.19 to 2.85)), hospitalization for fracture of the lower limb (RR = 6.35 (3.02 to 13.37)), higher baseline ADL score (RR = 0.49 (0.43 to 0.56)), and the use of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (RR = 0.52 (0.28 to 0.96)).
The risk of decline in walking ability is predicted by older age, increased dementia severity, poor functional score, and orthopedic factors and seems to be prevented by the use of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors medication.
PMCID: PMC3978928  PMID: 24517197
10.  Molecular Inflammation: Underpinnings of Aging and Age-related Diseases 
Ageing research reviews  2008;8(1):18-30.
Recent scientific studies have advanced the notion of chronic inflammation as a major risk factor underlying aging and age-related diseases. In this review, low-grade, unresolved, molecular inflammation is described as an underlying mechanism of aging and age-related diseases, which may serve as a bridge between normal aging and age-related pathological processes. Accumulated data strongly suggest that continuous (chronic) up-regulation of pro-inflammatory mediators (e.g., TNF-α, IL-1β, 6, COX-2, iNOS) are induced during the aging process due to an age-related redox imbalance that activates many pro-inflammatory signaling pathways, including the NF-κB signaling pathway. These pro-inflammatory molecular events are discussed in relation to their role as basic mechanisms underlying aging and age-related diseases. Further, the anti-inflammatory actions of aging-retarding caloric restriction and exercise are reviewed. Thus, the purpose of this review is to describe the molecular roles of age-related physiological functional declines and the accompanying chronic diseases associated with aging. This new view on the role of molecular inflammation as a mechanism of aging and age-related pathogenesis can provide insights into potential interventions that may affect the aging process and reduce age-related diseases, thereby promoting healthy longevity.
PMCID: PMC3782993  PMID: 18692159
molecular inflammation; aging; calorie restriction; exercise; cytokines; oxidative stress; inflammatory diseases; age-related diseases; obesity; sarcopenia; dementia; atherosclerosis; cancer; osteoporosis
11.  Incidence and economical effects of pneumonia in the older population living in French nursing homes: design and methods of the INCUR study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:861.
Among the most burdensome clinical conditions occurring in older persons, respiratory infections are particularly relevant. In fact, the onset of pneumonias is associated with a significant worsening of the individual’s global health status and significant increase of healthcare costs. The clinical and economical negative consequences of pneumonia may be particularly evident among the frailest groups of elders, in particular those living in nursing home. Nevertheless, specific research on incidence and economical effects of pneumonia in nursing homes residents is still scarce. In the present article, we present the rationale, the design and the methods of the “Incidence of pNeumonia and related ConseqUences in nursing home Resident (INCUR) study, specifically aimed at filling some of the gaps currently present in the field.
INCUR is an observational longitudinal study recruiting 800 residents across 13 randomly selected nursing homes in France. Multidimensional evaluations of participants are conducted at the baseline, mid-term (at 6 months), and end of the study (at 12 months) visits in order to measure and follow-up their physical function, nutrition, cognition, depression, quality of life, and healthcare costs. Incident pneumonia as well as the onset/recurrence of other major health-related events are monitored during the study follow-up.
The INCUR study will provide valuable information about older persons living in nursing homes. Results from INCUR study may constitute the basis for the development of future preventive campaigns against pneumonia and its consequences.
PMCID: PMC3851141  PMID: 24044421
Older adults; Nursing home; Pneumonia; Physical disability; Health care
12.  Association of a 7-year percent change in fat mass and muscle mass with subsequent cognitive dysfunction: the EPIDOS-Toulouse cohort 
Cognitive dysfunction and changes in body composition share common pathophysiological pathways. The aim of the present paper was to evaluate whether changes in appendicular muscle mass (AMM) and fat mass (FM) are associated factors with an increased risk of cognitive dysfunction in community-dwelling older women.
A nested case–control study was performed in 181 women aged 75 years and older from a subsample of the Epidemiologie de l'Osteoporose participants from Toulouse. Body composition parameters at inclusion and 7 years later (assessed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry), and the presence of cognitive dysfunction (dementia and mild cognitive impairment) at 7 years of follow-up, assured by two memory experts based on best clinical practice and validated criteria, were obtained. Multivariate logistic regression models assessed the association of percent change in AMM and FM with risk of cognitive dysfunction.
At 7 years of follow-up, 15 participants suffered from dementia, 6 suffered from mild cognitive impairment, and 160 were cognitively normal. Neither body composition changes nor gait speed was found to be statistically associated with cognitive dysfunction after controlling for potential confounders. Only age, over 85 years, was associated with an increased risk of subsequent cognitive impairment (odds ratio 3.10; 95 % confidence interval 1.07–8.87).
No significant association could be evidenced between changes in body composition and cognitive dysfunction. Due to the small sample size, statistical power could be an issue. The study could also suggest the possibility that the risk of cognitive dysfunction is not mediated by changes in body composition.
PMCID: PMC3774918  PMID: 23888380
Body composition; Fat mass; Muscle mass; Cognitive decline; Old age
13.  Lipid Peroxidation and Depressed Mood in Community-Dwelling Older Men and Women 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65406.
It has been hypothesized that cellular damage caused by oxidative stress is associated with late-life depression but epidemiological evidence is limited. In the present study we evaluated the association between urinary 8-iso-prostaglandin F2α (8-iso-PGF2α), a biomarker of lipid peroxidation, and depressed mood in a large sample of community-dwelling older adults. Participants were selected from the Health, Aging and Body Composition study, a community-based longitudinal study of older persons (aged 70–79 years). The present analyses was based on a subsample of 1027 men and 948 women free of mobility disability. Urinary concentration of 8-iso-PGF2α was measured by radioimmunoassay methods and adjusted for urinary creatinine. Depressed mood was defined as a score greater than 5 on the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale and/or use of antidepressant medications. Depressed mood was present in 3.0% of men and 5.5% of women. Depressed men presented higher urinary concentrations of 8-iso-PGF2α than non-depressed men even after adjustment for multiple sociodemographic, lifestyle and health factors (p = 0.03, Cohen’s d = 0.30). This association was not present in women (depressed status-by-sex interaction p = 0.04). Our study showed that oxidative damage may be linked to depression in older men from a large sample of the general population. Further studies are needed to explore whether the modulation of oxidative stress may break down the link between late-life depression and its deleterious health consequences.
PMCID: PMC3679197  PMID: 23776478
14.  Oxidative Damage, Platelet Activation, and Inflammation to Predict Mobility Disability and Mortality in Older Persons: Results From the Health Aging and Body Composition Study 
Inflammation, oxidative damage, and platelet activation are hypothesized biological mechanisms driving the disablement process. The aim of the present study is to assess whether biomarkers representing these mechanisms predicted major adverse health-related events in older persons.
Data are from 2,234 community-dwelling nondisabled older persons enrolled in the Health Aging and Body Composition study. Biomarkers of lipid peroxidation (ie, urinary levels of 8-iso-prostaglandin F2α), platelet activation (ie, urinary levels of 11-dehydro-thromboxane B2), and inflammation (serum concentrations of interleukin-6) were considered as independent variables of interest and tested in Cox proportional hazard models as predictors of (severe) mobility disability and overall mortality.
The sample’s (women 48.0%, whites 64.3%) mean age was 74.6 (SD 2.9) years. During the follow-up (median 11.4 years), 792 (35.5%), 269 (12.0%), and 942 (42.2%) events of mobility disability, severe mobility disability, and mortality occurred, respectively. Only interleukin-6 showed significant independent associations with the onset of all the study outcomes. Higher levels of urinary 8-iso-prostaglandin F2α and 11-dehydro-thromboxane B2 independently predicted increased risk of death (hazard ratio 1.10, 95% confidence interval 1.03–1.19 and hazard ratio 1.14, 95% confidence interval 1.06–1.23, respectively). No significant interactions of gender, race, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and antiplatelet drugs were detected on the studied relationships.
The inflammatory marker interleukin-6 is confirmed to be a robust predictor for the onset of negative health-related events. Participants with higher urinary levels of 8-iso-prostaglandin F2α and 11-dehydro-thromboxane B2 presented a higher mortality risk.
PMCID: PMC3348494  PMID: 22389462
Oxidative damage; Platelet activation; Inflammation; Disability; Mortality
15.  Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitor Use by Older Adults Is Associated with Greater Functional Responses to Exercise 
To assess the association between angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEis) and improvements in the physical function of older adults in response to chronic exercise training.
Secondary analysis of the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders Pilot (LIFE-P) study, a multisite randomized clinical trial to evaluate the effects of chronic exercise on the physical function of older adults at risk for mobility disability.
Four academic research centers within the United States.
Four hundred twenty-four individuals aged 70 to 89 with mild to moderate functional impairments categorized for this analysis as ACEi users, users of other antihypertensive drugs, or antihypertensive nonusers.
A 12-month intervention of structured physical activity (PA) or health education promoting successful aging (SA).
Change in walking speed during a 400-m test and performance on a battery of short-duration mobility tasks (Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB)).
Physical activity significantly improved the adjusted walking speed of ACEi users (P < .001) but did not of nonusers. PA improved the adjusted SPPB score of ACEi users (P < .001) and of persons who used other antihypertensive drugs (P = .005) but not of antihypertensive nonusers (P = .91). The percentage of ACEi users deriving clinically significant benefit from exercise training for walking speed (30%) and SPPB score (48%) was dramatically higher than for nonusers (14% and 12%, respectively).
For older adults at risk for disability, exercise-derived improvements in physical function were greater for ACEi users than users of other antihypertensive drugs and antihypertensive nonusers.
PMCID: PMC3625953  PMID: 22726232
aging; exercise; physical function; LIFE Study; ACE inhibitors
16.  Biomarkers of sarcopenia in clinical trials—recommendations from the International Working Group on Sarcopenia 
Sarcopenia, the age-related skeletal muscle decline, is associated with relevant clinical and socioeconomic negative outcomes in older persons. The study of this phenomenon and the development of preventive/therapeutic strategies represent public health priorities. The present document reports the results of a recent meeting of the International Working Group on Sarcopenia (a task force consisting of geriatricians and scientists from academia and industry) held on June 7–8, 2011 in Toulouse (France). The meeting was specifically focused at gaining knowledge on the currently available biomarkers (functional, biological, or imaging-related) that could be utilized in clinical trials of sarcopenia and considered the most reliable and promising to evaluate age-related modifications of skeletal muscle. Specific recommendations about the assessment of aging skeletal muscle in older people and the optimal methodological design of studies on sarcopenia were also discussed and finalized. Although the study of skeletal muscle decline is still in a very preliminary phase, the potential great benefits derived from a better understanding and treatment of this condition should encourage research on sarcopenia. However, the reasonable uncertainties (derived from exploring a novel field and the exponential acceleration of scientific progress) require the adoption of a cautious and comprehensive approach to the subject.
PMCID: PMC3424187  PMID: 22865205
17.  Rationale for Antioxidant Supplementation in Sarcopenia 
Journal of Aging Research  2012;2012:316943.
Sarcopenia is an age-related clinical condition characterized by the progressive loss of motor units and wasting of muscle fibers resulting in decreased muscle function. The molecular mechanisms leading to sarcopenia are not completely identified, but the increased oxidative damage occurring in muscle cells during the course of aging represents one of the most accepted underlying pathways. In fact, skeletal muscle is a highly oxygenated tissue and the generation of reactive oxygen species is particularly enhanced in both contracting and at rest conditions. It has been suggested that oral antioxidant supplementation may contribute at reducing indices of oxidative stress both in animal and human models by reinforcing the natural endogenous defenses. Aim of the present paper is to discuss present evidence related to possible benefits of oral antioxidants in the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia.
PMCID: PMC3265093  PMID: 22292119
Cardiovascular therapeutics  2010;28(5):e72-e91.
The close relationship existing between aging and thrombosis has growingly been studied in this last decade. The age-related development of a pro-thrombotic imbalance in the fibrinolysis homeostasis has been hypothesized at the basis of this increased cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk. Fibrinolysis is the resulting of the interactions among multiple plasminogen activators and inhibitors constituing the enzymatic cascade, and ultimately leading to the degradation of fibrin. The plasminogen activator system plays a key role in a wide range of physiological and pathological processes. Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) is a member of the superfamily of serine-protease inhibitors (or serpins), and the principal inhibitor of both the tissue-type and the urinary-type plasminogen activator, the two plasminogen activators able to activate plasminogen. In this review, current evidence describing the central role played by PAI-1 in a number of age-related subclinical (i.e., inflammation, atherosclerosis, insulin resistance) and clinical (i.e., obesity, comorbidities, Werner syndrome) conditions is presented. Despite some controversial and unclear issues, PAI-1 represents an extremely promising marker which may become a biological parameter to be growingly considered in the prognostic evaluation, in the disease monitoring, and as treatment target of age-related conditions in the next future.
PMCID: PMC2958211  PMID: 20626406
19.  Effects of a weight loss plus exercise program on physical function in overweight, older women: a randomized controlled trial 
Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are associated with physical impairments and biologic changes in older adults. Weight loss combined with exercise may reduce inflammation and improve physical functioning in overweight, sedentary, older adults. This study tested whether a weight loss program combined with moderate exercise could improve physical function in obese, older adult women.
Participants (N = 34) were generally healthy, obese, older adult women (age range 55–79 years) with mild to moderate physical impairments (ie, functional limitations). Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups for 24 weeks: (i) weight loss plus exercise (WL+E; n = 17; mean age = 63.7 years [4.5]) or (ii) educational control (n = 17; mean age = 63.7 [6.7]). In the WL+E group, participants attended a group-based weight management session plus three supervised exercise sessions within their community each week. During exercise sessions, participants engaged in brisk walking and lower-body resistance training of moderate intensity. Participants in the educational control group attended monthly health education lectures on topics relevant to older adults. Outcomes were: (i) body weight, (ii) walking speed (assessed by 400-meter walk test), (iii) the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), and (iv) knee extension isokinetic strength.
Participants randomized to the WL+E group lost significantly more weight than participants in the educational control group (5.95 [0.992] vs 0.23 [0.99] kg; P < 0.01). Additionally, the walking speed of participants in the WL+E group significantly increased compared with that of the control group (reduction in time on the 400-meter walk test = 44 seconds; P < 0.05). Scores on the SPPB improved in both the intervention and educational control groups from pre- to post-test (P < 0.05), with significant differences between groups (P = 0.02). Knee extension strength was maintained in both groups.
Our findings suggest that a lifestyle-based weight loss program consisting of moderate caloric restriction plus moderate exercise can produce significant weight loss and improve physical function while maintaining muscle strength in obese, older adult women with mild to moderate physical impairments.
PMCID: PMC3131984  PMID: 21753869
obesity; weight loss; physical function; oxidative stress; inflammation; walking speed
20.  Interaction of HDL cholesterol concentrations on the relationship between physical function and inflammation in community-dwelling older persons 
Age and Ageing  2009;39(1):74-80.
Background: the existence of a relationship among inflammation, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and physical function has been suggested.
Objective: the aim of the study is to investigate the possible interaction of HDL-C on inflammation and physical function.
Design: cross-sectional study.
Setting: town of Tuscania (Italy).
Subjects: all the 329 community-dwelling older persons aged ≥75 years (mean age 79.8 ± 5.2 years, women 56.2%).
Methods: HDL-C, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) were measured. Activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental ADL (IADL) and 4-m walking speed were assessed. Linear regression models were performed.
Results: given the multiple significant interactions, models were stratified according to HDL-C concentrations. In participants with normal HDL-C concentrations, only IL-6 showed a significant association with IADL (β = −0.439, SE = 0.176, P = 0.01). In participants with low HDL-C concentrations, all three inflammatory biomarkers were significantly associated with 4-m walking speed and IADL. IL-6 was also significantly associated with ADL (β = −0.755, SE = 0.259, P = 0.006), whereas borderline significances were reported for CRP and ESR.
Conclusions: the association between inflammation and physical function is particularly enhanced in elders with low HDL-C concentrations. Though HDL-C may merely act as a wellbeing index, HDL-C concentrations should be considered in studies evaluating inflammation and physical function.
PMCID: PMC2800252  PMID: 19892744
HDL cholesterol; physical function; inflammation; older persons; elderly
Aim of the present study is to evaluate whether an ACE inhibitor intervention is able to significantly improve physical performance and muscle strength in a sample of older persons.
Double-blind, cross-over, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.
The Trail of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibition and Novel Cardiovascular Risk Factors (TRAIN) study.
Two hundred fiftyseven subjects aged 55 years and older with high cardiovascular risk profile.
Six month of fosinopril use versus placebo.
The Short Physical Performance Battery score (rescaled to obtain a continuous variable ranging from 0 to 3 points), and the hand grip strength were measured at the baseline visit, and after 6 and 12 months of follow-up. Paired t-test analyses were performed to compare results of physical function measures after ACE inhibition and placebo interventions.
Mean age of the sample population was 65.97 (standard deviation 7.41) years old. No statistically significant difference was found at the Short Physical Performance Battery (p=0.23) and hand grip strength (p=0.57) results after ACE inhibition (2.113, standard deviation [SD] 0.284; and 37.044 kg, SD 12.993 kg, respectively) compared to placebo (2.096, SD 0.298; and 36.898 kg, SD 13.178 kg, respectively). No significant effects from ACE inhibition were also found when the three subtests composing the Short Physical Performance Battery (i.e., 4-meter walking speed, balance, and chair stand tests) were separately analyzed. Consistent negative results were obtained after analyses were restricted to participants showing the highest compliance to treatment and/or receiving the maximum fosinopril dosage.
No significant modifications in physical performance and muscle strength were reported after 6 months of fosinopril use in older persons with high cardiovascular risk profile. Given these negative findings, it is possible that the beneficial effects of ACE inhibitors on physical function might be due to the activation of a virtuous cycle determined by an improved cardiovascular system. Further specifically designed studies are needed to confirm our findings, and expand them to different populations and ACE inhibitors. If our findings will be confirmed, the extra-cardiovascular properties of ACE inhibitors in older persons might be substantially resized.
PMCID: PMC2818218  PMID: 20129212
Fosinopril; Physical function; ACE inhibition; Muscle strength
22.  Skeletal Muscle and Mortality Results From the InCHIANTI Study 
Sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass, may not be an isolated process but is associated with an increase in fat mass. The aim of this study was to estimate the mortality risk of sarcopenia in the presence or absence of obesity.
Data are from 934 participants aged 65 years or older, enrolled in the “Invecchiare in Chianti” study, and followed for 6 years. At baseline, a peripheral quantitative computerized tomography (pQCT) scan was performed on all participants to evaluate the muscle density, and the muscular and fat cross-sectional areas of the calf. Walking speed was measured on a 7-m track. Cox proportional hazard models were performed to estimate the association of pQCT measures (per 1 standard deviation increase) with mortality.
Unadjusted analyses showed significant associations of muscle density (hazard ratio [HR] 0.78, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.69–0.88), muscle area (HR 0.75, 95% CI 0.66–0.86), and fat area (HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.73–0.92) with mortality. After adjustment for potential confounders, no body composition parameter was significantly associated with mortality. Walking speed (used as a reference measure to verify whether the negative results were due to peculiarities of the study sample) confirmed its well-established association with mortality risk (HR 0.73, 95% CI 0.60–0.88). These results did not change after the analyses were stratified according to sarcopenia and body mass index groups, and restricted to participants with frailty or a high inflammatory profile.
Calf skeletal muscle and fat mass are not significant risk factors for mortality in community-dwelling older adults. Walking speed confirmed to be a powerful predictor of health-related events.
PMCID: PMC2655006  PMID: 19181709
Skeletal muscle; Body composition; Fat mass; Walking speed; Obesity; Sarcopenia; Mortality; InCHIANTI
23.  Fatigue in a Representative Population of Older Persons and Its Association With Functional Impairment, Functional Limitation, and Disability 
Older persons often complain of fatigue, but the functional consequences of this symptom are unclear. The aim of the present study was to evaluate fatigue and its association with measures of physical function and disability in a representative sample of the older population.
Cross-sectional data from a population-based sample of 1,055 Italian men and women aged 65 and older were analyzed. Fatigue was defined according to two questions evaluating whether participants felt that “everything was an effort” and/or they “could not get going” on three or more days in the past week. Objective measures of physical function were handgrip strength, the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), and 400-m walking speed. Disability was defined as the inability to complete the 400-m walk test and self-reported difficulty in activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL).
The prevalence of fatigue was higher in women (29%) than in men (15%). In age-adjusted analyses, fatigued men and women had weaker handgrip strength, lower SPPB score, slower walking speed, and higher mobility, ADL, and IADL disability than nonfatigued persons. Further adjustment for health behaviors, diseases, inflammatory markers, and thyroid function generally reduced the relationship between fatigue and functional outcomes, but fatigue remained significantly associated with SPPB score, walking speed, and mobility and IADL disability.
Older persons who report fatigue had significantly poorer functional status than those who did not report this symptom. The causal link between fatigue and these outcomes should be further investigated.
PMCID: PMC2691190  PMID: 19176328
Fatigue; Aging; Disability; Physical function
24.  Added Value of Physical Performance Measures in Predicting Adverse Health-Related Events: Results from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study 
To determine how three different physical performance measures (PPM) combine for added utility in predicting adverse health events in elders.
Prospective cohort study.
Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study.
3,024 well-functioning older persons (mean age 73.6 years).
Timed gait, repeated chair stands and balance (semi- and full-tandem, and single leg stands each held for 30 seconds) tests were administered at baseline. Usual gait speed was categorized to distinguish high and low risk participants using the previously established 1 m/sec cut-point. The same population-percentile (21.3%) was used to identify cut-points for repeated chair stands (17.05 sec) and balance (53 sec) tests. Cox proportional hazard analyses were performed to evaluate the added value of PPM in predicting mortality, hospitalization, and (severe) mobility limitation events over 6.9 years of follow-up.
Risk estimates for developing adverse health-related events were similarly large for each of the three high risk groups considered separately. A greater number of PPM scores at the high risk level was associated with a greater risk of developing adverse health-related events. When all three PPMs were considered, having only one poor performance was sufficient to indicate a highly significant higher risk of (severe) lower extremity and mortality events.
Although gait speed is considered the most important predictor of adverse health events, these findings demonstrate that poor performance on other tests of lower extremity function are equally prognostic. This suggests that chair stand and standing balance performance may be adequate substitutes when gait speed is unavailable.
PMCID: PMC2695653  PMID: 19207142
Short Physical Performance Battery; Functional limitation; Death; Hospitalization; Usual gait speed
25.  Frailty syndrome and skeletal muscle: results from the Invecchiare in Chianti study123 
Frailty is a common condition in elders and identifies a state of vulnerability for adverse health outcomes.
Our objective was to provide a biological face validity to the well-established definition of frailty proposed by Fried et al.
Data are from the baseline evaluation of 923 participants aged ≥65 y enrolled in the Invecchiare in Chianti study. Frailty was defined by the presence of ≥3 of the following criteria: weight loss, exhaustion, low walking speed, low hand grip strength, and physical inactivity. Muscle density and the ratios of muscle area and fat area to total calf area were measured by using a peripheral quantitative computerized tomography (pQCT) scan. Analyses of covariance and logistic regressions were performed to evaluate the relations between frailty and pQCT measures.
The mean age (±SD) of the study sample was 74.8 ± 6.8 y, and 81 participants (8.8%) had ≥3 frailty criteria. Participants with no frailty criteria had significantly higher muscle density (71.1 mg/cm3, SE = 0.2) and muscle area (71.2%, SE = 0.4) than did frail participants (69.8 mg/cm3, SE = 0.4; and 68.7%, SE = 1.1, respectively). Fat area was significantly higher in frail participants (22.0%, SE = 0.9) than in participants with no frailty criteria (20.3%, SE = 0.4). Physical inactivity and low walking speed were the frailty criteria that showed the strongest associations with pQCT measures.
Frail subjects, identified by an easy and inexpensive frailty score, have lower muscle density and muscle mass and higher fat mass than do nonfrail persons.
PMCID: PMC2668161  PMID: 16685058
Frailty; skeletal muscle; body composition; fat mass; inflammation; muscle mass; muscle density; aging; epidemiology

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