Association between the frailty index and vascular brain damage: The Treviso Dementia (TREDEM) registry

Maurizio Gallucci, Alberto Grassi, Lucia Focella, Francesca Grassivaro, Chiara Da Ronch, Marco Gallucci, Emanuele Marzetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: An association between frailty and vascular brain damage (VBD) has been described in older adults. However, most studies have identified frailty according to the phenotypic model. It is less clear whether frailty, operationalized as an accumulation of health deficits, is associated with the presence and severity of VBD. The present study was therefore undertaken to verify whether a 50-item frailty index (FI) is related to VBD in a large and relatively unselected cohort of attendees of a memory clinic. Materials and methods: The TREDEM (Treviso Dementia) registry includes retrospective observational data of 1584 participants. A modified FI was calculated from 50 variables comprising diseases, disability, behavioral disorders, and blood biochemistry. The presence and severity of VBD, including leukoaraiosis, lacunes, larger infarctions and the hierarchical vascular rating scale (HVRS), were determined based on brain computerized tomography imaging. Multiple logistic regression models were built according to the stepwise method. Results: Mean age of the 1584 participants was 79.6 ± 7.5 years and 1033 (65.2 %) were females. The average number of health deficits was 11.6 ± 6.2, corresponding to an FI of 0.23 ± 0.12 (range: 0.00–0.56). Each 0.01-point increase in the FI was associated with an increased probability of leukoaraiosis (+2.3 %) and severe leukoaraiosis (+5 %), lacunas in the basal ganglia (+1.73 %), occipital lobes (+2.7 %), parietal lobes (+3 %), frontal lobes (+3.6 %), temporal lobes (+4.2 %), and thalamus (+4.4 %). Moreover, an increase of 0.01 points in the FI was associated with a 3.1 % increase in the probability of HVRS score (≥2). Conclusion: An FI based on routine clinical and laboratory variables was associated with the presence, degree, and some localizations of VBD in a population of older adults with cognitive decline. This frailty assessment tool may therefore be used to identify individuals at risk of developing cerebrovascular disease and, consequently, to implement strategies for vascular risk factor control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Alzheimer
  • Dementia
  • Frailty index
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Vascular brain damage


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