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Genetic Influences On Functional Capacities In Aging.

A. Foebel, N. Pedersen
Published 2016 · Medicine

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PURPOSE Older populations are characterized by great heterogeneity in functional capacities and understanding the factors underlying these differences has been a major area of research for some decades. Genetic differences arguably play an important role in the heterogeneity observed for many outcomes among older individuals. However, the role of genes in the variation and trajectories of functional capacities in older age is poorly understood. This review was conducted to explore the evidence for genetic influences on physical functional capacities in aging. DESIGN AND METHODS This rapid review was conducted using the following criteria: journal articles retrieved from the PubMed, Embase, AgeLine, Scopus, and Web of Science electronic databases including the key words: genetics, genotype, polymorphism, physical or functional performance, functional capacity, activities of daily living, older, and elderly. In total, 118 articles were included for initial review. RESULTS The heritability of objective measures of physical function ranges from 30% to 60% in studies of older twins. There is a paucity of evidence about genetic influences on functional capacities, but some candidate genes related to functional capacity have been identified. IMPLICATIONS No strong candidate genes exist for functional capacities. Current methodologies are beginning to generate new evidence about genetic influences on overall physical function at older ages, but the variety of measures of functional capacity makes evidence difficult to compare.
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