Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Older people with poor handgrip could signal diminished cognitive and memory, new research shows.
Loss of handgrip by 11 pounds put people at a 10 percent risk of cognitive impairment and an 18 percent risk of severe cognitive impairment, according to a study published Thursday in Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
For the study, the researchers looked at data for close to 14,000 people older than age 50 from the 2006 Health and Retirement Study.
Their grip was tested with a hand-held dynamometer and mental function with a Mini-Mental examination that gauges attention, memory, language and visual-spatial ability.
The researchers concluded these findings indicated the reduction in grip strength had a link to neural degeneration, making muscle training important for older people.
More importantly, the researchers interpreted the findings to mean that a reduction in grip strength is associated with neural degeneration, which underscores the importance of muscle-building exercises.
A 2018 study backs up the link between grip strength and cognitive function, suggesting that declining grip strength may also be an indicator of declining cognitive function.
Results from the new study, the researchers say, reinforce the need to include grip strength in health assessments for older adults.
"These findings suggest that this is another instance where you're seeing that staying physically active affects your overall health and your cognitive health," Sheria Robinson-Lane, a researcher at University of Michigan and study author, said in a news release.