Saturday, March 03, 2007

Measuring up on the SSWO score

Fraility in the elderly is all about loss--stamina, weight, muscle mass, energy--all of it yesterday's news as vibrant 70-somethings shrivel into tiny 80-somethings. Dutch researchers examined whether 17 weeks of exercise and micronutrient supplementation could up the SSWO (scale of subjective well-being for older persons) scores for scores of frail, old Dutchmen and women.

Their conclusion? No, it's not enough, or perhaps too little too late. They did find, however, a strong correlation between deficiencies in vitamins B6, D, and folate and crazy low SSWO scores.

In addition, they theorized that the lack of improvement in SSWO scores might reflect that subjective assessments of well-being are stable and relatively insensitive to actual changes in health status. In other words, even though the interventions may have changed the participants health for the better, these little, old people had a fixed notion of how they felt at this stage of the game, and self-appraisals are more about attitude than fitness and nutritional status.

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