Handgrip strength as a means of monitoring progression of cognitive decline - A scoping review

Ageing Res Rev. 2017 May;35:112-123. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2017.01.004. Epub 2017 Feb 8.


Cognitive decline in older adults contributes to reduced ability to perform daily tasks and continued disuse leads to muscle weakness and potentiates functional loss. Despite explicit links between the motor and cognitive systems, few health care providers assess motor function when addressing the needs of individuals with cognitive loss. Early and easy measurable biomarkers of cognitive decline have the potential to improve care for individuals with dementia and mild cognitive impairment. The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic search to determine the relationship among handgrip strength, as a measure of global muscle strength, and cognitive decline over time. Fifteen prospective, cohort, longitudinal studies of adults >60years old who were healthy or at risk of cognitive decline at study onset were included in the review. Studies that investigated changes in cognition relative to baseline grip strength and, those that investigated changes in grip strength relative to cognitive function were revealed. Findings here support the use of handgrip strength as a way to monitor cognitive changes and show that reduced handgrip strength over time may serve as a predictor of cognitive loss with advancing age.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Dementia; Dynamometer; Grasp; Grip strength; Mild cognitive impairment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / diagnosis
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / physiopathology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / psychology
  • Hand Strength*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychomotor Performance