New Study Shows Social Isolation, Frailty Worsen Health Risks for Aging People

A recently published review has found that social vulnerability and frailty worsen as individuals age. When both are present, these conditions result in a considerably heightened decline in cognitive and physical function as well as mortality risk.

So, what is frailty?

Theoretically, frailty is defined as a state of heightened vulnerability resulting from declines associated with age that is clinically recognizable. These declines often compromise an individual’s ability to cope with acute stressors, with researchers noting that frailty is common among older people.

While advancements in modern medicine have significantly improved life expectancy of humans beyond natural limits, frailty remains a public health and clinical concern worldwide.

What did the investigators focus on?

For their review, the researchers looked into social vulnerability prevalence in people with frailty and vice versa. They also assessed the longitudinal and possibly bidirectional link between social vulnerability and frailty, while also estimating the outcomes and impacts of these conditions’ comorbidity.

They began by collating the outcomes of 130 observational studies that looked into the bidirectional links between social vulnerability and frailty. All publications were obtained from the following online scientific repositories: Web of Science Core Collection, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Scopus, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature.

The period of study ran from Jan. 1, 2021, to April 28, 2023.

What did the researchers discover?

The researchers determined that frailty was more commonly linked to social vulnerability, with 90% of the studies linking frailty to decreased social participation and another subset linking it to increased loneliness. The review also observed a link between frailty and increased social association, social frailty and decreased perceived social support. In addition, the investigators noted that some studies observed links between physical and social frailty.

In their report, the investigators stated that their objective was to inform public health policymakers and clinicians to consider both social vulnerability and frailty when trying to manage either. They explained that while both conditions were distinct with their pathologies and symptoms, they were closely interrelated. They added that having either condition greatly increased the risk of developing the other.

People who presented with both conditions were also found to depict considerably higher mortality risks as well as cognitive and physical functional declines in comparison to individuals with only one of the aforementioned conditions. The review is registered under International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews while its methodology was designed in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. Its findings were reported in “The Lancet Healthy Longevity” journal.

Enterprises such as Longeveron Inc. (NASDAQ: LGVN) are focusing on developing treatments targeting people suffering from aging-related frailty so that their quality of life can improve and the additional health risks they face due to frailty can be reduced.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Longeveron Inc. (NASDAQ: LGVN) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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