Walking speed and hand-grip may help in determination of development of dementia in later stages; Research

dementiaResearchers have found that walking speed and hand grip strength in middle-ages may help in the determination of development of dementia or stroke.

This research is going to be presented at American Academy of Neurology’s (AAN’s) 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans, April 21 to April 28, 2012.

Researchers have worked on walking speed, hand grip strength and cognitive function of more than 2,400 men and women with average age of 62. They were also underwent brain scans.

Researchers have found that 34 people developed dementia and 70 people had a stroke during a follow-up period of 11 years. They discovered that people with slow walking speed during middle ages were 1.5 times more prone to develop dementia as compared to people with faster walking speed. They have also found that people with stronger grip had 42% lower chances of developing a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) over age 65 as compared to people with weaker hand grip strength.

Researchers have also found that slower walking speed was also linked with decreased total cerebral brain volume and poorer performance on memory, language and decision-making tests. Moreover, firm hand grip strength was linked with increased total cerebral brain volume as well as better performance on cognitive tests asking people to identify similarities among objects.

“Further research is needed to understand why this is happening and whether preclinical disease could cause slow walking and decreased strength.” Erica C. Camargo, MD, MSc, PhD, with Boston Medical Center.

Reference:

Camargo EC, et al, (2012). Walking speed, handgrip strength and risk of dementia and stroke: The Framingham Offspring Study.  AAN

Further Reading:

American Academy of Neurology