Older persons are often referred to physicians because of complaints of progressive difficulties in walking. The diagnostic and therapeutic approach to these patients is complex. Multiple physiologic subsystems may influence the ability to walk and no standard criteria are currently available to establish whether these subsystems are functioning within the “normal” range.
To address lack of knowledge Dr. Luigi Ferrucci and Dr. Stefania Bandinelli conducted InCHIANTI, a representative population-based study of older persons living in the Chianti geographic area (Tuscany, Italy).
The InCHIANTI Study (Invecchiare in Chianti, aging in the Chianti area) is currently supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIH, NIA, Bethesda, USA) and is coordinated by the Tuscany Regional Health Agency in a partnership with the Florence Health Care Agency, the local Administrators and the primary care physicians of Greve in Chianti and Bagno a Ripoli, the two small towns in the countryside of the Tuscany were the study is conducted. The Study was initially managed by the National Institute on Research and Care of the Elderly (INRCA, Ancona, Italy) and it was funded by Italian Health Ministry and by a NIH contract.
Our goal is to translate epidemiological research into geriatric clinical tools that makes possible more precise diagnosis and more effective treatment in older persons with mobility problems.
In particular, we plan to:
- study how the various physiological subsystems that are important for mobility interact with age in causing disability;
- develop reference values for the integrity and functionality of the different physiologic subsystems that are implicated in mobility, to be used in clinical practice;
- look at risk factors for the development of “soft” neurological impairments in the absence of neurological disease that is already clinically evident;
- identify biomarkers of disregulation of the biological network of signals that maintain a stable homeostasis equilibrium after a distressful event, such as a disease or injury;
- scientific evidence relevant to public health, prevention and intervention trials.