Frailty plays a key role in determining who develops dementia

As our population ages, the number of people with dementia is increasing rapidly. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia (syndrome of memory and functional impairment). Treating frailty may better support patients, families, and aid in health care delivery.

Plaques and tangles are well recognized as the brain lesions that cause Alzheimer’s disease. That said, they do not reliably predict who will get dementia. Most people who get dementia are over 75 and have several other health problems (i.e. frailty). In this study, we found that there are many people with few plaques and tangles that get dementia, and some that have plenty of plaques and tangles but stave off dementia. Frailty appears to be the key factor in this relationship.

Understanding that frailty influences who develops dementia in spite of the presence of plaques and tangles may help us improve our treatment targets (i.e. create frailty-reduction programs) and improve prevention initiatives. For details, take a tour through our visual abstract below, “Managing frailty may reduce your risk of dementia”.

To learn more:
Read the journal article
Listen to the Lancet Neurology podcast 

The views and opinions expressed in this guest blog are those of the authors (individual CCNA scientists) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging and its partner organizations.