Findings from an analysis of data from the Framingham Offspring Cohort revealed that walking speed and hand-grip strength in middle age correlated with the risk of stroke and dementia in later years. Participants in the Framingham study were the children of the subjects of long-range research regarding cardiovascular disease.
A baseline walking speed that was slower than average was associated with a 50% increase in the likelihood of developing dementia. Grip strength was not a factor in stroke risk, but a high baseline grip strength went along with a 42% reduction in stroke risk for people 65 and older. The study will be presented in New Orleans in April at the annual American Academy of Neurology meeting.
According to MedPage Today, lead author Erica C. Camargo, MD, PhD, of Boston Medical Center issued a statement saying, "These are basic office tests [that] can provide insight into the risk of dementia and stroke and can be easily performed by a neurologist or general practitioner. While frailty and lower physical performance in elderly people have been associated with an increased risk of dementia, we weren't sure until now how it impacted people of middle age."