A simple frailty questionnaire (FRAIL) predicts outcomes in middle aged African Americans
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- Morley, J.E., Malmstrom, T.K. & Miller, D.K. J Nutr Health Aging (2012) 16: 601. doi:10.1007/s12603-012-0084-2
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To validate the FRAIL scale.
Representative sample of African Americans age 49 to 65 years at onset of study.
The 5-item FRAIL scale (Fatigue, Resistance, Ambulation, Illnesses, & Loss of Weight), at baseline and activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), mortality, short physical performance battery (SPPB), gait speed, one-leg stand, grip strength and injurious falls at baseline and 9 years. Blood tests for CRP, SIL6R, STNFR1, STNFR2 and 25 (OH) vitamin D at baseline.
Cross-sectionally the FRAIL scale correlated significantly with IADL difficulties, SPPB, grip strength and one-leg stand among participants with no baseline ADL difficulties (N=703) and those outcomes plus gait speed in those with no baseline ADL dependencies (N=883). TNFR1 was increased in pre-frail and frail subjects and CRP in some subgroups. Longitudinally (N=423 with no baseline ADL difficulties or N=528 with no baseline ADL dependencies), and adjusted for the baseline value for each outcome, being pre-frail at baseline significantly predicted future ADL difficulties, worse one-leg stand scores, and mortality in both groups, plus IADL difficulties in the dependence-excluded group. Being frail at baseline significantly predicted future ADL difficulties, IADL difficulties, and mortality in both groups, plus worse SPPB in the dependence-excluded group.
This study has validated the FRAIL scale in a late middle-aged African American population. This simple 5-question scale is an excellent screening test for clinicians to identify frail persons at risk of developing disability as well as decline in health functioning and mortality.