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16.09.2016 | Beiträge zum Themenschwerpunkt

Technology-based measurements for screening, monitoring and preventing frailty

Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie
L. Dasenbrock, A. Heinks, M. Schwenk, J. M. Bauer


Background and objective

Sensor technology, in particular wearable inertial sensors, has the potential to help researchers objectively assess the functionality of older adults. The following review provides an overview about the possible use of sensor technology to detect and prevent pre-frailty and frailty.


A systematic literature search in PubMed and the Cochrane Library was conducted. Articles were selected according to the following criteria: frail and/or pre-frail population, use of wearable and non-wearable sensor technology to measure or enhance human movements or activities of daily living and a focus on frailty assessment.


A total of 28 publications were found. Sensor-derived parameters obtained during assessment of gait, functional performances and physical activity were reported to be relevant for screening and monitoring pre-frailty and frailty; however, current findings are limited to cross-sectional studies, which do not allow establishment of a causal relationship between motor performance, physical activity and specific frailty states. No study monitored specific activities of daily living.


Outcome variables from technology-based assessment seem to provide valuable information for frailty assessment. Strenuous testing conditions as well as increased variability in gait, functional performance and physical activity may be useful in identifying frailty. Outcome variables derived from gait, motor assessment and physical activity must still be validated in large cohorts and under daily living conditions in order to develop robust screening tools for pre-frailty and frailty. Further research should focus on specific activities of daily living in pre-frail or frail older adults and technology-based approaches for intervention and prevention.

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