2. What medical/research problem will the project tackle?

Once disability has emerged, the restoration of an adequate level of functioning is very unlikely, especially when the age of the subject, the degree of disability or its duration increase. It is therefore necessary to anticipate the onset of disabling conditions by targeting community-dwelling older persons that are not yet disabled, but already show preliminary signs/symptoms. In this context, the geriatric conditions of frailty (i.e., a multidimensional syndrome characterized by decreased reserve and diminished resistance to stressors) and sarcopenia (i.e., the progressive and generalized loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength) are of special interest as targets for interventions against disability and major negative health-related outcomes.

Unfortunately, to date, no healthcare programs or pharmacological treatments are available for frail elders. This is largely due to the current lack of a precise, universal definition of frailty, which in turn is linked to the multidimensional nature of the condition. The identification of a definite biological basis (i.e. skeletal muscle decline) opens new venues for the development of interventions to slow or reverse the progression of the PF&S condition (especially towards disabling conditions).