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Mech Ageing Dev. 2006 May;127(5):494-6. Epub 2006 Feb 20.

Limits to deficit accumulation in elderly people.

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Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada.


We evaluated limits to the accumulation of deficits (symptoms, diseases, disabilities) for 33,069 people aged 65+ years. We combined deficits in a frailty index (theoretical range 0-1) and found that the 99% limit varied little between samples, representing a frailty index value of about 0.65 +/- 0.05. This near-maximum shows no relationship with age. It is the same in community and institutional samples, even though the mean value is much higher in the latter. The data suggest a level of frailty beyond which, even in developed countries, further deficit accumulation is not sustainable.

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