Resilience is characterised by the ability to bounce back after exposure to a stressor or a form of adversity. It is frequently separated into physical and psychological components, with the former being defined as the ability to recover following age-related losses or disease. A decline in resilience is both a marker and a risk factor for accelerated ageing and frailty, respectively.
The aim of this editorial was to showcase the importance of resilience in the recovery of frail patients. It also exposes the mechanisms behind resilience, as well as the gaps in its clinical assessment.
The Hospital Frailty Risk Score (HFRS) was developed to detect frail individuals based on data extracted from hospital databases. An association between the HFRS, 30-day mortality, 30-day emergency hospital readmission, and long length of stay (LOS) was originally validated in populations of elderly patients admitted to hospital via the emergency department. Data regarding the HFRS’ predictive ability in the context of direct admissions and post-discharge outcomes is thus lacking.
The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between the HFRS and 30-day mortality, 30-day hospital readmission, and long LOS by analysing in- and out-patient healthcare in France.
For hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer, liver transplantations are considered the best treatment, as they present with a 60-80% survival rate for 5 years. Suitability for a transplant is assessed by factors such as the patient’s tumour presentation and their responses to treatments, with the Milan Criteria representing the total criteria with all additional prognostic factors. Yet, general health is rarely included into this judgement. General health, especially low muscle pass (e.g, sarcopenia) may affect survival rates for liver transplantations; this has, however, rarely been addressed. This study discovered that a higher pre-operative muscle mass contributed to an increased rate of long-term survival post-liver transplantation.
This review by Beumer B et al. aimed to determine whether adding in the consideration of muscle mass, and working beyond the Milan Criteria, may benefit our understanding of the outcomes of liver transplantations.
Weight loss is clearly related to cancer, yet there is very little data concerning when and at what stage weight loss should be considered a sign of a need to diagnose cancer. In this study of 43,302 patients, it was found that there was a linear increase in the chance of being diagnosed with cancer compared to the amount of weight lost. This finding was independent of any co-factors, such as age, sex, original weight or co-morbidities. Therefore, it is clear that the percentage of weight lost must be focused on, rather than a guideline with an arbitrary cut-off point for a cancer diagnosis. It could be possible to trigger an alert for patients who lose certain percentages of weight over specified periods of time.
This review by Nicholson B et al aimed to understand the diagnostic value of weight loss in relationship to cancer.
Cancer is often associated with cachexia, a wasting syndrome which is multifactorial and cannot be resolved with simple nutritional aid. It causes loss of muscle mass and is the cause of death for almost a third of cancer patients. However, cachexia is very complex. This muscle-wasting disorder has many underlying mechanisms, whether cancer-induced or chemotherapy induced. Heighted protein catabolism and reduced anabolism, as well as disrupted energy metabolism, are associated with cachexia, but the mechanisms underlying these changes are not fully known. Inflammation and oxidative stress are believed to be important within the mechanisms.
This review by Huot J et al. aimed to evaluate the mechanisms underlying cancer cachexia, particularly discussing the role of oxidative stress.
Renal cachexia often occurs in end-stage renal disease, yet there are few guidelines for clinicians in how to treat and manage this condition. To ensure a patient-centric approach, understanding the experiences of patients with renal cachexia, as well as their carers, will help to implement the most beneficial guidelines possible. This study focuses on assessing quality of life outcomes, including psychological and social factors, in an attempt to raise awareness about the impact of cancer cachexia. This information aims to inform the management of renal cachexia, as well as general holistic care within the field of nephrology.
This review by Blair C et al. aimed to synthesize the lived experiences of renal cachexia in patients suffering with end-stage renal disease, as well as that of their carers.
Frailty is characterised by increased vulnerability to acute stressors associated with an age-related decline in function across multiple physiological systems. Since it is an age-dependent clinical syndrome, countries with ageing populations, like the United Kingdom (UK), are predicted to become increasingly exposed to worsening frailty-associated patient outcomes and burdened healthcare systems.
This article aimed to emphasise the importance of frailty-related education for healthcare professionals in the UK.
Recent studies have identified energy dysregulation as one of the principle drivers of frailty. Exercise, the most effective tool to combat frailty, is associated with energy metabolism upregulation and reduction of inflammation. It has been hypothesised this therapeutic effect is linked to the production of myokines by skeletal muscle in response to acute and chronic exercise. Evidence has concluded that myokines play a crucial role in upholding energy metabolism and combating inflammation. However, despite this, only a limited number of studies have examined the changes in myokine concentrations with exercise in older adults.
This review aims to summarise evidence supporting an association between energy metabolism and frailty. It also assesses the role of myokines, released during exercise, in combating frailty.
Cancer cachexia is a wasting disorder, where nutritional interventions cannot fully aid in restoring weight in patients. It severely impacts quality of life and survival rates of patients. In this study, a 58-question questionnaire was completed by clinicians to understand the knowledge and practice gaps within the treatment of cancer cachexia. Some issues raised included the lack of a standardised definition of cancer cachexia for diagnosis, with 43% of respondents stating that low levels of attention are given to providing such a diagnosis. Furthermore, it was reported that screening for cachexia was not completed routinely, among other practice gaps.
This review by Baracos VE et al. aimed to highlight the gaps in understanding of cancer cachexia that clinicians face worldwide.
For patients with advanced-stage cancer, weight loss and lower body mass index has been associated with shorter rates of survival. On the other hand, obesity has been associated with longer survival. Weight loss or cachexia could therefore be used as a prognostic tool, although it has not yet been studied much in clinical trials. It is predicted to be due to the fact that decreased muscle mass is a predictor of shortened survival, as well as lowered nutrient stores and activity level. However, further research is required into understanding weight loss in relation to cancer survival rates, especially in the context of therapies such as chemotherapy, as it is not fully known how this interacts with body mass.
This review by Oswalt C et al. aimed to explore the relationship between body mass index, weight loss and survival rates in advanced lung cancer.
Frailty is characterised by increased vulnerability to acute stressors. As it is common in adults with heart failure (HF), frailty has been used as a predictor of mortality and morbidity for HF patients.
Frailty Phenotype, the most commonly used frailty instrument in HF, is used for the physical examination of frailty. While physical frailty instruments are commonly used in clinical practice, a proportion of studies have expressed issues with such tools. As HF may have detrimental effects on physical function, the use of physical instruments may lead to an under- or over-estimation of frailty.
This study aims to compare the predictive ability of three physical frailty instruments (the Frailty Phenotype, the St Vincent’s Frailty instrument and the SHARE-FI); and three multi-domain instruments (the FRAIL scale, the Deficit Accumulation Index, and St Vincent’s Frailty plus cognition 7 and mood) in adults with HF.
While it was initially characterised by a loss of muscle mass, sarcopenia has been defined by several international panels as a decline in muscle function, with a focus on muscle strength and physical performance. Despite the existence of algorithms and research into screening tools for its diagnosis, sarcopenia has not yet been appropriately recognised by the World Health Organisation’s latest version of the ICD (ICD-11), which is used by most countries. Definitions of sarcopenia are growing more precise, yet this does not translate into improved patient care and outcomes.
This article aims to summarise the knowledge gaps surrounding sarcopenia’s definition, diagnosis, and treatment in current clinical practice. It also highlights the next steps in achieving worldwide sarcopenia recognition.
Sarcopenia is characterised by progressive and generalised skeletal muscle loss, both in terms of mass and function. Its main risk factors include ageing, gender, sedentary lifestyles and malnutrition. The latter is also frequently diagnosed alongside head- and- neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC), with up to 46%-49% of patients being malnourished upon diagnosis.
Although sarcopenia has been identified as a prognostic factor for HNSCC, only a small number of studies investigate the association between sarcopenia and survival in HNSCC.
This study aimed to assess the association between pre-therapeutic sarcopenia and survival, as well as its impact on tolerance of chemoradiotherapy for the treatment of HNSCC. The outcomes measured in this study were overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS), and treatment tolerance.
Frailty is a state of vulnerability, recognised clinically, where patients experience an ageing-associated decline in their physical and cognitive abilities. There are two main scales for measuring frailty. The Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) is often used for intensive care unit patients. The Diseases-10 Modified Frailty Index (mFI) is also used; it is derived from the understanding of 11 comorbidities. However, it was unknown how the two compare. In this study of 7,001 patients, it was found that a greater proportion of patients were categorised as frail using the CFS, and this scale also predicted better those who would survive past the 6-month mark versus those who would die. This indicates that the two scales are not equivalent, and the mFI should not be used for frailty.
This review by A. Subramaniam et al. aimed to highlight the differences between the two scales, the Clinical Frailty Scale and the Diseases-10 Modified Frailty Index, to determine which is a better predictor of frailty.
Globally, there are over 1.5 million new cases of gastric and oesophageal cancer annually. These cases (especially advanced cases) are often associated with cancer cachexia, a multifactorial syndrome that leads to progressive wasting which cannot be fully reverse through nutritional interventions. It is also responsible for around 20% of cancer deaths. Yet, the understanding of cancer cachexia is often neglected in treatment. This presents an issue as cytotoxic drug doses are most commonly calculated based on body surface area, not taking into account decreasing mass.
Furthermore, understanding cancer cachexia would allow for the improvement of therapeutic options, which are currently little researched, including exercise- and nutrition-based interventions, as well as targeted treatments such as anti-IL1 α and anti-GDF-15. Even for patients with incurable cancers, the management of cachexia wasting can improve quality of life.
This review by Brown LR et al. aimed to highlight the necessity of understanding the progression of cancer cachexia in association with diseases such as gastric and oesophageal cancer, as well as the possible future research directions associated with aiding in these conditions.
Cancer cachexia is a multifactorial syndrome that leads to progressive wasting which cannot be fully reverse through nutritional interventions. There is currently no clear method for the management of cachexia, but exercise seems to hold promising potential. Exercise may provide anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects, which may prove important in aiding with cachexia due to its correlation with inflammation and oxidative stress. Furthermore, exercise improves muscle strength and function, which can improve quality of life for those with cancer cachexia. However, there is very scarce evidence for this, and even some evidence contradicting the benefit of exercise due to the risk of over-extending the patients.
This review by Murphy BT et al. aimed to shine light on both sides of the complex discussion surrounding the benefits of exercise in aiding with cancer cachexia.