Get a grip: Individual variations in grip strength are a marker of brain health

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Abstract

Demonstrations that grip strength has predictive power in relation to a range of health conditions - even when these are assessed decades later, has motivated claims that hand-grip dynamometry has the potential to serve as a “vital sign” for middle-aged and older adults. Central to this belief has been the assumption that grip strength is a simple measure of physical performance that provides a marker of muscle status in general, and sarcopaenia in particular. It is now evident that while differences in grip strength between individuals are influenced by musculo-skeletal factors, “lifespan” changes in grip strength within individuals are exquisitely sensitive to integrity of neural systems that mediate the control of coordinated movement. The close and pervasive relationships between age-related declines in maximum grip strength and expressions of cognitive dysfunction can therefore be understood in terms of the convergent functional and structural mediation of cognitive and motor processes by the human brain. In the context of ageing, maximum grip strength is a discriminating measure of neurological function and brain health.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 04 Aug 2018

Keywords

  • motor control
  • frailty
  • coordination
  • ageing
  • longevity
  • muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Health Professions(all)

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