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About Us

The Frailty in Ageing (FRIA) research department at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel is a clinical and research team that typically represents multidisciplinary competence, needed for both fundamental and clinical research on frailty in the elderly.

Frailty is a complex geriatric syndrome characterised by a state of increased vulnerability at higher age. There is growing evidence for the involvement of inflammatory processes in the development of frailty. Frail elderly subjects show several clinical manifestations such as sarcopenia, dynapenia, fatigue, sedentary lifestyle, malnutrition, cognitive decline and disability in activities of daily life. Frailty is a typically unstable condition, which can be aggravated by a multitude of triggers of clinical (disease, trauma, etc) and psychosocial (life events) origin.

The aims of FRIA's research activities are to untangle the underlying mechanisms and to develop interventions for prevention and rehabilitation of frailty in the aged.


FRIA has experience in the following topics:

  • development and validation of strength and fatigue resistance measurements in elderly persons and geriatric patients

  • development of health classification systems for elderly persons

  • evaluation of the effect of strength training in elderly persons (muscular parameters and inflammation)

  • reaction time tests

  • surface EMG

  • interaction between inflammation and various heat shock proteins (in serum & peripheral blood mononuclear cells [PBMC])

  • evaluation of rigidity & stiffness in elderly persons

  • gait analysis using accelerometry

  • evaluation and treatment of postural alterations at higher age

  • cell cultures (fibroblasts, PBMC, various cell lines)

  • motivators, facilitators and barriers for physical activity in elderly persons