Research Study Ongoing at Northwood
There is currently little known about the relationship between gut microbes and frailty. Northwood is participating in a first-of-its-kind study that hopes to show possible connections between the variation in gut microbiome of older adults and their health status. It is hoped that the results can be used to improve the care of older adults.
What is frailty?
Frailty is a state of increased vulnerability to poor health outcomes compared to other people of the same age. For example, a person who is frail would have a higher risk of falling, contracting illness, being admitted to the hospital, etc.
What are microbes?
Trillions of tiny micro-organisms (bacteria and related organisms) live in the human body. Communities of microbes are not visible to the human eye, but play a large role in our health. Helpful microbes are important for digesting certain types of food, help to regulate the immune system, and can provide protection against invasions by disease-causing bacteria.
Why is it important?
If we can begin to understand what microbes are characteristic of frail individuals, we hope to:
- Help develop better techniques for frailty assessment
- Help make better decisions about health care planning
- Develop new and objective ways to screen for frailty (i.e. a blood test or stool sample)
- Help to improve quality of life of frail individuals
- Help health care professionals better understand factors influencing frailty in older adults
Who is taking part in the study?
53 Northwood at the Harbour residents have been involved in the study, which began in early July.
Who is leading the study?
The study is being conducted in partnership with Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, a geriatrician at the Nova Scotia Health Authority; Dr. Robert Beiko, a professor at Dalhousie University; and their research team.
Thanks are extended to all study participants, Joanne Hughes, Cathy Meisner, CBU nursing students, and all of the floor staff who have done an amazing job staying on top of all study procedures.