Background: Sarcopenia and cognitive impairment share pathophysiological paths and risk factors. Our aim was to investigate the association of sarcopenia and its defining components with cognitive performance in middle-aged and older adults.
Methods: This cross-sectional analysis included 5,038 participants from the ELSA-Brasil Study, aged ≥ 55 years. Muscle mass was evaluated by bioelectrical impedance analysis and muscle strength by handgrip strength. Sarcopenia was defined according to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. Cognition was evaluated using delayed word recall test, semantic verbal fluency test, and trail making test version B. Possible confounders included sociodemographic characteristics, lifestyle, and clinical comorbidities.
Results: The frequencies of sarcopenia, low muscle mass, and low muscle strength were 1.8%, 23.3%, and 4.4%, respectively. After adjustment for possible confounders, poorer performance on the verbal fluency test was associated with sarcopenia (β = -0.20, 95% confidence interval [CI] = -0.38; -0.01, p = .03) and low muscle mass (β = -0.08, 95% CI = -0.14; -0.01, p = .02). Low muscle strength was associated with poorer performance in the delayed word recall test (β = -0.14, 95% CI = -0.27; -0.02, p = .02), verbal fluency test (β = -0.14, 95% CI = -0.26; -0.02, p = .03), and trail making test (β = -0.15, 95% CI = -0.27; -0.03, p = .01).
Conclusions: Sarcopenia was associated with poorer performance on the verbal fluency test, and low muscle strength was associated with poorer performance in all cognitive tests in middle-aged and older adults.
Keywords: Cognition; Muscle mass; Muscle strength; Older adult.
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: email@example.com.