Handgrip strength in the oldest old related to poor survival

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Washington, Feb 9 (ANI): A new study has found that handgrip strength in the oldest old is associated with poor survival.

The findings of the study, which has appeared in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), may come useful in analysing mortality.

The study recognised people older than 85 years as the oldest old.

The study included 555 individuals from the Leiden 85-plus survey of all 85 year olds in Leiden, The Netherlands. Their handgrip strength was measured at 85 years and then again at 89. The team, led by researchers from The Netherlands, found that low handgrip strength, both at 85 and 89 years and a greater decline in strength over time are linked to increased all-cause mortality. The scientists also found that handgrip strength has a greater impact on mortality as people age.

According to Dr. Carolina Ling, Leiden University Medical Center, Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics and coauthors: "The oldest old population has been underrepresented in previous studies.

"The objective of this study was to assess the association between muscular strength and mortality in the oldest old."

The primary reasons why muscle strength and mortality are related are not well known. The authors were unable to find if muscle strength had a direct effect on mortality or if it was linked to other factors ultimately leading to death.

The authors conclude that determining handgrip strength may not only identify older people at risk of a disability but may also help in the survival of the elderly by being able to apply the correct strategies to help maintain muscle strength.

Dr. Allen Huang, geriatrician at the McGill University Health Centre, said: "Handgrip strength is an easy measurement for clinicians to obtain...Handgrip dynamometers, though not commonly ound in physicians' offices, are simple, low maintenance devices." (ANI)

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