Declines in grip strength may indicate early changes in cognition in healthy middle-aged adults

Diane E. Adamo, Tara Anderson, Mahtab Koochaki, Nora E. Fritz, Glenn R. Wylie
2020 PLoS ONE  
Declining grip strength is an indicator of cognitive loss in older individuals but it has not been explored people younger than 65 years old. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between grip strength and specific cognitive tests known to decline with mild cognitive impairment in young and middle-aged adults. Declines in cognitive performance in middle-aged adults may provide evidence that these changes occur earlier than previously reported. A cross sectional design
more » ... sectional design was used to compare differences between young and middle-aged healthy adults and to investigate associations between cognitive and grip strength measures within groups. Healthy young (20-30 years old) and middle-aged (45-65 years old) adults completed five cognitive tests including the Stroop, California Verbal Learning Test, Symbol Digit Modalities Test, Trail Making Tests and the Controlled Oral Word Association Test. All participants completed right and left maximum grip strength measures. Middle-aged adults performed significantly worse on right and left grip strength and the Stroop test (p<0.05) when compared to the younger group. There were no significant relationships among grip strength and cognitive performance at the whole-group level or within the younger-age group; however, weaker grip strength was significantly associated with poorer Controlled Oral Word Association Test total cluster (r = 0.458; p < .05) and Stroop interference (r = 0.471; p < .05) scores in the middle-aged group. Findings from this study suggest that cognitive changes may occur earlier than previously thought (prior to age 65). Weaker grip strength was significantly associated with poorer function in two of the cognitive measures in the middle-age group, suggesting that some domains of cognition, specifically semantic categorization and executive function, may be particularly sensitive to age-related changes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0232021 pmid:32324794 fatcat:7flvztrj55czvc55kjgvxjsc4y