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Published: 2019-04-30 09:00 | Updated: 2019-04-30 11:10

New thesis: Impact of cardiovascular and neuropsychiatric multimorbidity on older adult's health

Hi Davide Vetrano, PhD-student at the Division of Aging Research Center. On 13 May you will defend your thesis ”Impact of cardiovascular and neuropsychiatric multimorbidity on older adult's health”, what's the main focus of the thesis?

My thesis is about the development and the impact of multimorbidity on older people’s health. With the term multimorbidity we refer to the process of accumulation of chronic diseases in one individual. Multimorbidity occurs with people’s aging, and for this reason it represents an interesting model to understand better the aging process.

Which are the most important results?

In this thesis we reached three main conclusions. First, chronic diseases tend to cluster in the same individual following specific patterns (clusters of multimorbidity), which are quite dynamic over time, but that can still be described and forecasted. Second, specific multimorbidity clusters can be considered major players in the health decline we observe in older people. In particular, neuropsychiatric and cardiovascular diseases seem to have the strongest impact. Finally, the presence of physical impairments may further boost the negative impact of multimorbidity on older people health.

How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health?

In keeping with the principle of a patient-centered medicine, assessing the presence of specific multimorbidity clusters in older people may help to better identify groups of individuals at higher risk of negative health-related events, including the development of disability and shorter survival. The assessment of the underlying functional status helps to better stratify the risk in these individuals. Such information may be used to tailor personalized preventive, therapeutic and rehabilitative interventions, improving patients’ care experience and resulting in more sustainable models of care.

What´s in the future for you? Will you keep on conducting research?

I will definitely keep doing research in the field of multimorbidity and frailty, hopefully here at KI!