Frailty in Ageing (FRIA)
Existing collaboration between the Gerontology (GERO) Department of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and the Clinical Department of Geriatrics (UZ Brussels) has led in 2007 to the creation of the Frailty in Ageing (FRIA) research group for both fundamental and clinical research on frailty in the elderly. FRIA conducts a focussed research program on Frailty.
Frailty is a complex geriatric syndrome characterised by a state of increased vulnerability at higher age. Frail elderly subjects show several clinical manifestations such as sarcopenia (muscle atrophy), dynapenia (muscle weakness), fatigue, sedentary lifestyle, malnutrition, cognitive decline and disability in activities of daily life. Frailty is a typically unstable condition, which can be aggravated by a multitude of triggers of clinical (disease, trauma, etc) and psychosocial (life events) origin.
FRIA conducts a comprehensive research program to untangle the underlying mechanisms and to develop interventions for prevention and rehabilitation of frailty in the aged. Within the comprehensive research program, research lines with a Bio-Psycho-Medical focus and a Psycho-Socio-Policy focus can be distinguished. Given the multidisciplinary character of Frailty, most of FRIA's research projects are conducted within both research areas.
Bio-Psycho-Medical focussed research lines
The common focus in Bio-Medical research projects conducted by FRIA is the skeletal muscle and inflammation as key-elements in the Frailty syndrome. Central theme of FRIA's Bio-Medical research is the triad sarcopenia (age-related muscle atrophy) - dynapenia (muscle weakness) – inflammation (SDI):
Identification and assessment of the triad SDI: Body composition in elderly; Epidemiology of sarcopenia and low-grade inflammation; Critical threshold values for muscle performance in the elderly
Untangling the underlying mechanisms of the triad SDI: Central and local mechanism contributing to inflammation-induced muscle weakness in the aged; Role of Advanced Glycation End Products in the development of Sarcopenia; Cell Senescence
Prevention and treatment of the triad SDI: Immuno-protective effects of physical activity in the aged; Physical training and gen regulation of immunosenescence; Treatment strategies for muscle weakness and muscle atrophy
Other aspects related to the triad SDI: The role of physical exercise in the prevention & treatment of Alzheimer's disease
Psycho-Socio-Policy focussed research lines
The Psycho-Social research lines conducted by FRIA are focussed on:
Motivators and Barriers for physical activity at higher age,
Early detection and treatment of MCI & Alzheimer's disease