• Simplifying Frailty Assessment in Kidney Transplant Patients: Introducing the Abridged Frailty Phenotype

    It’s widely known that frailty is associated with poor outcomes in surgical patients including kidney transplant patients. National projections estimate that 16.4% of transplant candidates and 14.3% of recipients are frail (Haugen et al, 2020). Remarkably, transplant centers that measure frailty achieve better pre- and post-operative outcomes (Chen et al, 2022). However, frailty assessments aren’t consistently used at transplant centers for many reasons, with time… Continue Reading

  • Towards a self-reported assessment of physical frailty: updates and challenges

    Physical frailty is commonly defined by the Physical Frailty Phenotype (Fried et al, 2001), which uses a combination of self-report and objective measures. Physical frailty is a powerful predictor of health outcomes, but it is rarely used outside of research settings because of challenges with implementation. In a busy clinical setting, performing repeated grip strength and timed walking tests is rarely feasible. Self-report questionnaires, in… Continue Reading

  • Taking LGBTQ+ Health to Heart: An Interview with Dr. Carl Streed, Jr., on LGBTQ+ Older Adults, Heart Health & Frailty

    For “Pride Month,” we wanted to focus on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer+ older adults’ heart health as a possible risk consideration for frailty. There is increasing recognition of a multitude of health inequities that exist across many areas of wellness for LGBTQ+ people throughout the lifespan. In addition to age-related changes in cardiovascular risk, older LGBTQ+ adults are at high risk for poor… Continue Reading

  • Frailty Science Presentations at ICFSR 2023

    The 2023 International Conference on Frailty and Sarcopenia Research is coming up soon! This annual conference, which showcases state-of-the-art research on frailty and sarcopenia, will be held in Toulouse, France from March 22nd-24th.  There is also a virtual attendance option. Continue Reading Continue Reading

  • #FrailtyFighter 2.0: International Edition–Especially for the ICFSR Congress 2023

    We are bringing back our celebrated #FrailtyFighter social media campaign on Twitter!  And we are proud to partner with the International Conference on Frailty and Sarcopenia Research (ICFSR) Congress to highlight global researchers in this space leading up to the ICFSR 2023 Conference in Toulouse, France, from March 22-24 as a key part of this effort. Continue Reading Continue Reading

  • New supplemental award examines mitochondrial function and frailty development among people with and without HIV

    The Johns Hopkins Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC), a long-running NIH funded research program focused on frailty research, was recently awarded a supplemental grant to investigate the intersecting biological pathways that drive early onset of physical frailty in a subset of individuals living with and without HIV through the study of mitochondrial decline. Continue Reading Continue Reading

  • What Can Digital Health do for Geriatric Oncology? – advancing equity and meaningful use

    Frailty in older adults with cancer is associated with poor outcomes such as mortality (Augustin et al., 2016; Soubeyran et al., 2012), functional decline (Hoppe et al., 2013) and toxicity from chemotherapy (Hurria et al., 2011). Major organizations like the American Society of Clinical Oncology recommend using a comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) to identify vulnerabilities such as functional impairment, comorbidities, and cognition as well as institute… Continue Reading

  • Frailty in LGBTQ+ Adults: notes from a conversation with Dr. Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen

    Recently, I asked Dr. Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, Professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work and Director of the Goldsen Institute, to share her thoughts about frailty in older LGBTQ+ adults. Dr. Fredriksen-Goldsen is a pioneer in research on LGBTQ+ aging.  She led the nation’s first federally-funded longitudinal study of the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ people over the age of 50, “Aging with… Continue Reading

  • The Pulmonary System, Frailty & COVID-19: Q&A’s with Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos

    Exciting news! Our website has a new clinical section on Pulmonary Function and Frailty. As the field of Frailty Science is relatively young, research in specific specialties may be scarce—and this is true of the associations between the respiratory system and frailty. Consequently, we asked one of Johns Hopkins’ top experts in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine to review literature in this… Continue Reading

  • Advances in wound care: valsartan nanofilament hydrogel promotes wound healing in a diabetic animal model

    Beyond the substantial financial costs associated with chronic wounds (estimated to be between $28-96 billion dollars in Medicare costs in 2018; Nussbaum et al., 2018), the subsequent chronic inflammation and disability arising from such wounds are significant exacerbating factors that limit health-span in older adults. A recent study from a multidisciplinary wound center demonstrated that frailty prevalence, using the deficit accumulation model, was approximately 75%… Continue Reading

  • New AI/Technology & Aging Research Collaboratory: Pilot Proposals Due Feb. 18

    The recently funded Johns Hopkins Artificial Intelligence and Technology Collaboratory for Aging Research (JH AITC; website) seeks to improve the health and well-being of older adults through novel uses of artificial intelligence and new technologies.  Combatting frailty and its outcomes are important aims of this Collaboratory.  Continue Reading Continue Reading

  • Dr. Judy Kasper: A Remembrance

    The sudden passing of Dr. Judy Kasper, a prominent expert in the study of disability in later life and its implications for older adults, their loved ones, and health care policies, struck all who knew her with feelings of sadness and shock.  To celebrate Dr. Kasper as both a stellar scientist and a wonderful colleague and friend, we asked some of her collaborators to reflect… Continue Reading

  • Telehealth: remote assessments of physical function and frailty measures

    Objective measures of function are critical to both the clinical care of older adults and to research on healthy aging and physical frailty.  While telehealth had already been on the rise in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic skyrocketed the use of remote and virtual assessments, creating an urgent need to adapt methods for patient care and research data collection to the new environments. Clinicians and… Continue Reading

  • Johns Hopkins Frailty Science Researchers Contribute to a Global Frailty Seminar Series

    Dr. Jeremy Walston and Dr. Karen Bandeen-Roche, Frailty Science’s co-PIs, are participating in a novel Frailty Seminar Series along with other influential aging and frailty researchers from around the world over the coming several months. The highly-informative Frailty Seminar Series is an 11-month program aimed at promoting scientific exchanging and sharing evidence-based practices and research advances about all aspects of frailty around the globe. Continue… Continue Reading

  • For World AIDS Day, December 1st: How does one face aging when they never planned to survive? 

    The average age of people living with HIV in most care settings in the United States is 50 years of age or older. For many in this group, a diagnosis of HIV may have occurred decades ago and was accompanied, at the time, with the almost certain fate of disability and eventual death. Continue Reading Continue Reading

  • Family Caregiving: An Essential Resource for Older Adults

    It is estimated that somewhere between 18 million and 53 million Americans provide care to an older adult with a disability who needs some type of help with basic living needs. This care can include help with grooming, bathing, or dressing; assistance with mobility or preparing meals, or help with managing finances or medical appointments. Most older adults with dementia, limited physical capabilities, or major… Continue Reading

  • November 14th is World Diabetes Day

    As people with diabetes live longer, there are many geriatric conditions that occur more frequently in people with diabetes compared to those without diabetes, including cognitive impairment, incontinence, falls, and polypharmacy. Continue Reading Continue Reading

  • Advancing the visibility of frailty research: Upcoming spotlight on novel and exciting research questions 

    BMC Geriatrics has announced a call for a collection of papers focused on frailty research: https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/frailty. Categories include: Epidemiology and Measurement; Frailty Biology; Frailty and Clinical Care; and Interdisciplinary Topics. Continue Reading Continue Reading

  • The Geriatric Surgery Program at Johns Hopkins

    Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center (JHBMC) annually performs surgical procedures on more than 600 patients over the age of 65, with nearly one-third of these patients identified as frail and at high-risk for adverse outcomes.  It is currently the goal of JHBMC to be the national leader in discovering how to bring our older patients through surgery safely, preserve quality of life, and return them… Continue Reading

  • Understanding the etiology underlying frailty: Making frail older adults less frail 

    Why do older adults grow frail?  Because they grow old–but not only this. We all know, or we recognize as researchers, that some octogenarians thrive, while others ten years younger are highly vulnerable.  Our field of gerontology often asks a different question: How should an older adult’s frailty influence the care we provide them? That’s important. So also, though, is to treat the frailty itself: truly treat, and not just… Continue Reading

  • Announcement: Frailty Science 2.0–Website Update

    As you may have noticed, our website has a fabulous new look and feel, as well as several new, interesting features!  Continue Reading Continue Reading

  • Frailty and Cognitive Impairment: Time to Acknowledge and Embrace Heterogeneity

    Frailty and cognitive impairment, two common geriatric conditions, are known to be associated with late-life vulnerability in older adults. An estimated 15% of non-nursing home older adults in the United States aged 65 and over are frail, and about 22% and 9% have mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Physical frailty and cognitive impairment often co-exist in older adults. However, there are sizeable subgroups who have one but not the other. Continue Reading Continue Reading

  • World AIDS Day 2020 Reflection–Frailty, Resilience, and Impact.

    On December 1st 1988, the first World AIDS Day was observed to support people living with HIV (PLWH) and remember those who died during the initial phase of the AIDS epidemic.  Now, 32 years later, HIV has been transformed into a chronic disease with the widespread use of effective combination antiretroviral therapy. The goal of ending the HIV epidemic, while aspirational, is increasingly achievable with the… Continue Reading

  • Safer Holiday Plans for Older and Vulnerable People

    It should come as no surprise that observing the holidays will be different this year.  Here we outline important considerations about holiday gatherings during COVID-19 times, with special consideration to the health of older and more vulnerable relatives and friends. Continue Reading Continue Reading

  • Double Jeopardy for Older Adults of Color: An Urgent Call to Address Frailty Disparities in the United States

    Racial inequality that has been embedded in US structures and institutions has been exposed by twin catastrophes of 2020. In the height of the early novel coronavirus pandemic, Black, Latinx, and Native Americans were roughly 5 times as likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than their white peers, and Black Americans were twice as likely to die as whites (CDC COVID-19 Hospitalization by Race/Ethnicity, accessed… Continue Reading

  • Overcoming the stress of selecting a frailty assessment instrument: guidance and considerations.

    Research on frailty has exploded over the past two decades. A quick PubMed search of the term shows an exponential increase in the number of frailty-related publications since the early 2000s. But the concept of frailty can be diverse in its underlying theory and measurement… So how do we move past these challenges? Continue Reading Continue Reading

  • Healthy Voting is a Sacred Right

    Everyone in our clinician and researcher community is invited to share vote-by-mail information with their patients and families.  This blog offers a summary of ways to help older people get out their votes as safely as possible in 2020, and it provides a voter’s personal experience on the ease of using a vote-by-mail ballot at a community-based official election ballot drop box. Continue Reading Continue Reading

  • Self-Efficacy as a Tool for Older Adults to Cope with Coronavirus

    JS is a 72 year-old caregiver to her 75 year-old husband with advanced heart failure.  She usually brings him in to clinic every 3 months.  In April, she was able to conduct a telemedicine visit with the heart failure clinic. She said her grand-daughter had face-timed with her from out of state and talked her through using the computer to connect to the electronic record, but she had to search for her glasses to read the weight chart to the… Continue Reading

  • Motivation Matters: A Socratic Inquiry into Frailty

    This post explores Dr. Ravi Varadhan’s motivations for writing “A Socratic Inquiry Into the Nature of Frailty,” published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in 2019. Continue Reading Continue Reading

  • Brain-Related Symptoms of COVID-19 in Frail, Older Adults

    Please note: this post serves an addendum to the previous blog, Accelerated Frailty and COVID-19.  Colleagues from Johns Hopkins University recently published an important paper (Bullen et al., 2020) the demonstrated that COVID-19 can infect brain cells  The study points out that neurons also have the ACE 2 receptor on their surface, necessary to transfer COVID-19 into a cell.  These findings provide a potentially important… Continue Reading

  • Accelerated Frailty and COVID-19: Musings from the COVID Unit at Hopkins Bayview

    Over the past two months, I’ve worked on several occasions as the attending physician on a non-ICU COVID unit at Hopkins Bayview where I treated several older adult patients.  Although many of them had some level of COVID-related pneumonia, many others presented to the hospital in unexpected ways.  One of the more common ‘alternative’ presentations that I observed was one that looks like accelerated frailty… Continue Reading

  • Frail Older Patients in the Emergency Department: Considerations during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

    Consider the following hypothetical scenario from the experiences of an emergency medicine physician: An 84-year-old man is transferred to the emergency department (ED) from a skilled nursing facility (SNF) following three days of mild shortness of breath and non-productive cough. His past medical history includes mild dementia, COPD on home oxygen (4 liters per minute), and atrial fibrillation on anticoagulation and hypertension. The emergency medicine… Continue Reading

  • Welcome to the conversation on Frailty Science.

    Welcome to the Frailty Science blog!    Whether you are a researcher, clinician, student, policy maker, advocate, older adult, or caregiver—we hope you will find something interesting or useful on the site. We aim to provide a gateway to information for those seeking to learn more about frailty, vulnerability and resiliency in older adults. We hope you will enjoy checking in for the latest frailty-related… Continue Reading