Cognitive frailty: rational and definition from an (I.A.N.A./I.A.G.G.) international consensus group

J Nutr Health Aging. 2013 Sep;17(9):726-34. doi: 10.1007/s12603-013-0367-2.


The frailty syndrome has recently attracted attention of the scientific community and public health organizations as precursor and contributor of age-related conditions (particularly disability) in older persons. In parallel, dementia and cognitive disorders also represent major healthcare and social priorities. Although physical frailty and cognitive impairment have shown to be related in epidemiological studies, their pathophysiological mechanisms have been usually studied separately. An International Consensus Group on "Cognitive Frailty" was organized by the International Academy on Nutrition and Aging (I.A.N.A) and the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (I.A.G.G) on April 16th, 2013 in Toulouse (France). The present report describes the results of the Consensus Group and provides the first definition of a "Cognitive Frailty" condition in older adults. Specific aim of this approach was to facilitate the design of future personalized preventive interventions in older persons. Finally, the Group discussed the use of multidomain interventions focused on the physical, nutritional, cognitive and psychological domains for improving the well-being and quality of life in the elderly. The consensus panel proposed the identification of the so-called "cognitive frailty" as an heterogeneous clinical manifestation characterized by the simultaneous presence of both physical frailty and cognitive impairment. In particular, the key factors defining such a condition include: 1) presence of physical frailty and cognitive impairment (CDR=0.5); and 2) exclusion of concurrent AD dementia or other dementias. Under different circumstances, cognitive frailty may represent a precursor of neurodegenerative processes. A potential for reversibility may also characterize this entity. A psychological component of the condition is evident and concurs at increasing the vulnerability of the individual to stressors.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Alzheimer Disease
  • Cognition Disorders*
  • Cognition*
  • Consensus*
  • Dementia
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Frail Elderly / psychology*
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Geriatrics
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Syndrome