How Grip Strength and Mobility Tests Can Predict Your Risk of Dementia – A New Study

2023-05-08 11:56:21

A new study reveals that simple tests that assess grip strength and mobility can predict people’s risk of developing health factors associated with aging such as dementia.

Previous studies have shown that as people get older, they generally tend to lose muscle tone and move more slowly.

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The new research, recently published in the Journal of Cachexia Sarcopenia and Muscle, suggests that a loss of strength and sluggishness may also be a sign of a more serious health condition associated with aging: dementia at a later age.

In this context, the scientists, including scientists from Edith Cowan University in Australia, evaluated data from more than 1,000 women with an average age of 75 years.

They measured the woman’s grip strength and the time it took her to get up from a chair, walk three metres, turn around and sit down, a test known as the Timed-up and-Go (TUG).

The women then repeated the test five years later to see any decline in performance.

Over the next decade and a half, it was found that approximately 17 percent of the women participating in the study experienced a dementia-related event, categorized as hospitalization or death from dementia-related causes.

The scientists also found that low grip strength and slow TUG test results can be significant risk factors for dementia, regardless of risks associated with genetics, smoking, alcohol intake and levels of physical activity.

They found that those with the weakest grip strength in the study were more than twice as likely to develop a dementia-related event with age than the strongest individuals.

The slowest person on the TUG test was also more than twice as likely to have dementia as the fastest person.

The researchers theorize that grip strength, which can be easily measured with a portable device known as a dynamometer, could be a measure of brain health due to the overlapping nature of cognitive and motor decline.

“Grip strength tests and the TUG test are not commonly performed in clinics, but both are simple and inexpensive screening tools,” study co-author Mark Sim said in a statement.

The researchers say the new findings could help health professionals identify patients’ dementia risk early on.

“Incorporating muscle function tests as part of dementia screening may be useful for identifying individuals at high risk, who may then benefit from primary prevention programs aimed at preventing the onset of the condition such as a healthy diet and a physically active lifestyle,” said Dr. Sim.

Scientists suspect that grip strength may also emerge as a “surrogate measure” of heart disease, inflammation and weakness, which are known risk factors for dementia.

Dr Sim added: “The interesting finding in the index was that a decrease in these measures is significantly associated with higher risk, suggesting that if we can reverse this decline in functioning, we may be able to prevent dementia in later life. However, more is needed. of research in this field.

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