Weaker grip strength could be a sign of dementia, according to a new study. The study found every five kilogram reduction in grip strength increased the risk of cognitive impairment by 18 per cent. Researchers hope the findings urge doctors to conduct grip strength tests to assess a person's cognitive function.
Despite the findings, researchers have yet to determine how important of a factor grip strength is when it comes to cognitive decline. “I’d personally encourage physicians to include grip strength is assessing cognitive function,” lead author of the study Ryan McGrath, a professor at North Dakota State University’s College of Human Sciences and Education, told a news portal. Adding, “But as a field, we might not quite be there yet.”
McGrath believes grip strength examinations should be included in routine health assessments of older patients. “It’s a simple, noninvasive measure — just grasping and squeezing,” he told a news portal.
This is the first study to investigate the association between grip strength and cognitive decline. Some experts believe physical fitness may be an effective way to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. “Similar to the associations previously reported in studies of gait problems and worsening cognition, grip strength is most likely a proxy for something else, such as overall health and vitality,” Heather Snyder, vice president of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer’s Association, told a news portal.
She urges people to take on a “holistic approach" to reduce their risk of the condition. “That means a broader array of physical activity including cardio, strength training, and flexibility,” Snyder told a news portal. Adding, “But also thinking beyond exercise to include healthy habits like continuing to learn new things, staying socially connected, and eating a healthful diet. All these done together may be the best strategy for reducing risk of cognitive decline as we age.”
30 minutes of exercise daily five times a week may help to reduce biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s, according to a new study. “A healthy lifestyle, especially early in life, could help to decrease” cognitive problems, McGrath told a news portal.
If you are worried about losing cognitive abilities, measuring grip strength could be an easy way to assess your condition. “If you had a proper assessment and properly perform it, it’s certainly simple enough that if you monitored it over time and you see drastic changes in the grip strength, that could be a sign [of cognitive decline],” McGrath told a news portal.
However, further research is needed to fully explore this link.
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