Frailty syndrome and the risk of vascular dementia: The Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging

Vincenzo Solfrizzi, Emanuele Scafato, Vincenza Frisardi, Davide Seripa, Giancarlo Logroscino, Stefania Maggi, Bruno P. Imbimbo, Lucia Galluzzo, Marzia Baldereschi, Claudia Gandin, Antonio Di Carlo, Domenico Inzitari, Gaetano Crepaldi, Alberto Pilotto, Francesco Panza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Frailty is a clinical syndrome generally associated with a greater risk for adverse outcomes such as falls, disability, institutionalization, and death. Cognition and dementia have already been considered as components of frailty, but the role of frailty as a possible determinant of dementia, Alzheimer's disease (AD), and vascular dementia (VaD) has been poorly investigated. We estimated the predictive role of frailty syndrome on incident dementia and its subtypes in a nondemented, Italian, older population. Methods: We evaluated 2581 individuals recruited from the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging sample population consisting of 5632 subjects aged 65 to 84 years and with a 3.9-year median follow-up. A phenotype of frailty according to a modified measurement of Cardiovascular Health Study criteria was operationalized. Dementia, AD, and VaD were classified using current published criteria. Results: Over a 3.5-year follow-up, 65 of 2581 (2.5%) older subjects, 16 among 252 frail individuals (6.3%), of which 9 were affected by VaD (3.6%), developed overall dementia. In a proportional hazards model, frailty syndrome was associated with a significantly increased risk of overall dementia (adjusted hazard ratio: 1.85; 95% confidence interval: 1.01-3.40) and, in particular, VaD (adjusted hazard ratio: 2.68; 95% confidence interval: 1.16-7.17). The risk of AD or other types of dementia did not significantly change in frail individuals in comparison with subjects without frailty syndrome. Conclusion: In our large population-based sample, frailty syndrome was a short-term predictor of overall dementia and VaD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Cognition
  • Dementia
  • Frailty
  • Vascular dementia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Epidemiology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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