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Systemic Inflammation at Midlife May Up Risk of Later Frailty

THURSDAY, May 3, 2018 -- Those with systemic inflammation during midlife are more likely to have age-related frailty, according to a recent study published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A.

Keenan A. Walker, Ph.D., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues used data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study to evaluate the relationship between systemic inflammation (based on four markers) and age-related frailty. Patients were followed from baseline at Visit 1 in 1987 to 1989 (mean age, 52 years) until Visit 5 during late life in 2011 to 2013.

The researchers found that an increase in midlife inflammation composite score by one standard deviation was associated with higher odds of frailty 24 years later (odds ratio [OR], 1.39). Similar findings were seen at midpoints Visit 2 (1990 to 1992) and Visit 4 (1996 to 1999) for each standard deviation increase in C-reactive protein (CRP; ORs, 1.24 and 1.35, respectively). Participants with elevated CRP (≥3 mg/L) at these midpoint visits were more likely to meet frailty criteria later in life versus those who maintained low CRP. These associations were stronger among white participants versus African-American participants (P-interactions < 0.038).

"Systemic inflammation during midlife may independently promote pathophysiological changes underlying frailty in a subset of the population," the authors write.

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Posted: May 2018