Multimodal Diagnostic Approaches to Advance Precision Medicine in Sarcopenia and Frailty

Nutrients. 2022 Mar 26;14(7):1384. doi: 10.3390/nu14071384.


Sarcopenia, defined as the loss of muscle mass, strength, and function with aging, is a geriatric syndrome with important implications for patients and healthcare systems. Sarcopenia increases the risk of clinical decompensation when faced with physiological stressors and increases vulnerability, termed frailty. Sarcopenia develops due to inflammatory, hormonal, and myocellular changes in response to physiological and pathological aging, which promote progressive gains in fat mass and loss of lean mass and muscle strength. Progression of these pathophysiological changes can lead to sarcopenic obesity and physical frailty. These syndromes independently increase the risk of adverse patient outcomes including hospitalizations, long-term care placement, mortality, and decreased quality of life. This risk increases substantially when these syndromes co-exist. While there is evidence suggesting that the progression of sarcopenia, sarcopenic obesity, and frailty can be slowed or reversed, the adoption of broad-based screening or interventions has been slow to implement. Factors contributing to slow implementation include the lack of cost-effective, timely bedside diagnostics and interventions that target fundamental biological processes. This paper describes how clinical, radiographic, and biological data can be used to evaluate older adults with sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity and to further the understanding of the mechanisms leading to declines in physical function and frailty.

Keywords: intramuscular fat; precision medicine; sarcopenia; sarcopenic obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Frailty* / complications
  • Frailty* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Obesity
  • Precision Medicine
  • Quality of Life
  • Sarcopenia* / complications
  • Sarcopenia* / diagnosis
  • Sarcopenia* / therapy
  • Syndrome