Older people with stronger muscles are at reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease compared to their weaker peers, a new study shows.
Dr. Patricia A. Boyle of Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago and her colleagues found that the greater a person's muscle strength, the lower their likelihood of being diagnosed with Alzheimer's over a four-year period. The same was true for the loss of mental function that often precedes full-blown Alzheimer's.
Studies have linked grip strength to Alzheimer's, while a person's weight and level of physical activity also influence risk of the disease. To date, however, no one has studied whether muscle strength in and of itself might play a role in dementia risk, Boyle and her team note in November's Annals of Neurology.
"These findings support the linke between physical health and cognition in aging and the importance of maintaining good physical function and strength," Boyle told Reuters Health via email.