This week, The Lancet has published a clinical series on frailty, featured on the front cover “Frailty: the new frontier of medicine”. Various international experts in the field of geriatric medicine worked together to provide an up-to-date overview of the clinical and public health impact of frailty in older adults, as well as an overview of the evidence base behind interventions for individuals with frailty. The series was coordinated by Dr. Emiel Hoogendijk (Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Amsterdam UMC – location VUmc) together with an Australian colleague (Dr. Elsa Dent, Torrens University).

The condition of frailty is gaining international attention as the population of older adults rises globally. Frailty is characterized by a decline in functioning across multiple organ systems, accompanied by increased vulnerability to stressors. It is associated with adverse health outcomes and increased health-care costs.

The concept of frailty is increasingly being used in primary, acute and specialist care. Considering the degree of frailty of a person in clinical practice could result in more patient-centered care, which in turn may lead to better outcomes. Although research into frailty has increased exponentially in the past decades, there is still an inadequate evidence base for individual and health-system interventions to manage the condition.

The Lancet frailty series consists of two papers:

Paper 1 – Hoogendijk EO, Afilalo J, Ensrud KE, Kowal P, Onder G, Fried LP. Frailty: implications for clinical practice and public health. Lancet 2019;394:1365-1375. Open access link.

Paper 2– Dent E, Martin FC, Bergman H, Woo J, Romero-Ortuno R, Walston JD. The management of frailty: opportunities, challenges, and future directions. Lancet 2019;394:1376-1386.

The Lancet Frailty series:

The frailty series is written as part of the NWO/ZonMw Veni project of Emiel Hoogendijk. One of the goals of his Veni project is to investigate the public health impact of frailty in older adults (see for more information).