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Improving renutrition efficiency in elderly malnourished people for a better ageing.
Funder: French National Research Agency (ANR)Project code: ANR-10-ALIA-0013
Funder Contribution: 899,780 EUR

Aging is a physiological mechanism that induces a progressive loss of functional capacities of several tissues. In aged people, this is highlight by an increase in frailty and a decrease in physical and cognitive performances. Consequently, aging exposes to loss of autonomy and major consequences (notably malnutrition), which results in heavy treatments, blunting of quality of life,, important costs, and hospitalisation. In this context, malnutrition is a major factor of loss of autonomy. Physical function depends on strong and coordinate interactions between several physiological mechanisms and systems, i.e. nervous, skeletal and muscular systems. Both aging and malnutrition have pejorative issues on functional abilities by inducing negative alteration of these systems. To date, there is no significative difference in the management of malnutrition between elderly and younger people. Additionnally, nutritional strategy or dietary complement specifically dedicated to aged malnourished people are not available. Nutritional products for malnourished aged patients are needed since the capacity of elderly persons to respond successfully to renutrition is less than in younger persons. In addition, their nutritional requirements are different. Clinician needs new approaches for a more efficient dietary management of malnutrition in elderly patients. The aim of the PRESAGE project is to study the efficiency of a specific oral complement for improving functional abilities of undernourished elderly people and more globally to prevent the loss of autonomy. The program is based on 5 inter-dependent tasks. Products under study will contain a mix of nutriments with action on muscle mass and function, on bone metabolism and function and on inflammation and cognition. We anticipate a synergistic action of these compounds to improve functional activity of malnourished aged patients. This concept is new since it puts together different nutrients with for each very well-known beneficial effects during malnutrition and ageing. According to this formulation, the project will be organized to answer several questions. The aim of the first part (task 1) is to evaluate the absorption rate and the availability of the product in malnourished aged patients. In a second task (task 2), the product will be given to nursing home residents with the aim to evaluate its effect on nutritional status, cognition, functional capacities and autonomy. To go further in the mechanisms, we also plan to refed aged malnourished rats with either the complete formula or with each of the compounds separately and to evaluate their metabolic and functional effects on several tissues such as skeletal muscle, bone and brain (tasks 3 and 4). The project will enable scientists from public and private structures involved to work together on an ambitious programme aimed at observing and experimenting the potential interest of a new nutritional concept for elderly malnourished people. Therefore, the results of this study will be communicated and transferred to the industrial and scientific communities by oral communication, articles and organisation of meetings (task 5). Finally, these data would be of industrial interest to market a product with this new formulation.

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