Older Adults with Frailty

Dr Aisling O’Halloran.

At the 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting of the IGS, I had the honour of being awarded the Best Presentation Medal for my research entitled “Circulating Blood Biomarkers In Older Adults With Frailty: Evidence from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)”. This project tested whether frailty, a clinically significant syndrome in older adults, was linked to levels of ten commonly measured clinical biomarkers involved in micronutrient status, inflammation, kidney function or metabolic function. We identified three markers of micronutrient status and one marker of kidney function that were linked to frailty status, when adjusted for demographic, health, medications and supplements.

This was a collaborative interdisciplinary project involving epidemiologists, nutrition scientists, biochemists and clinicians from Trinity College Dublin, St James’s Hospital Dublin and Waterford Institute of Technology. Presenting my research at the IGS Annual Scientific Meeting and receiving the IGS award, has raised the profile of my work on frailty and biology of ageing. This has lead to new collaborations with researchers from the UK, Europe, the USA and Canada.

In addition, the exposure I have received personally and in terms of my research, through the IGS, has raised awareness of the impact of frailty among older adults. This has lead to contacts with and scientific contributions to the National Clinical Programme for Older People (NCPOP) and the Integrated Care programme for Older People (ICPOP). This included the development of National Frailty Education Programme, in association with The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). This key initiative is supporting the continued education of healthcare professionals working in Acute Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Older People’s services and the community, to recognise and assess older adults in their care for frailty. Ultimately, this results in improved healthcare management and better health outcomes for frail older adults.