Frailty and Brain-Muscle Correlates in Older People With Type 2 Diabetes: A structural-MRI Explorative Study

J Nutr Health Aging. 2019;23(7):637-640. doi: 10.1007/s12603-019-1229-3.


Objectives: Muscle alterations, mainly functional alterations are frequently observed in older people with type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Sarcopenia may be one mechanism of transition to frailty in these people. Thus, we aim to explore the characteristics of muscle and its association with cerebral grey matter volumes within this group.

Methods: Single center study nested within the international MID-Frail (a randomized clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a multi-modal intervention in older people with T2DM on frailty and quality of life) trial participants underwent both brain and muscle T1 MRI, nutritional and functional assessments. Muscle areas were measured in rectus femoris (RF). Relationships between MRI grey matter volumes and muscle areas or function tests were described using positive and negative regressions.

Results: Twenty-six subjects (7 female, mean age 78.2 y, SD 5.0), 6 frail and 20 pre-frail were explored in this sub-study. Frail subjects had lower Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA), Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), hip flexor strength than pre-frail ones but similar BMI and balance. Total SPPB was positively related with hip flexor strength and maximal RF area. Balance SPPB sub-score was unrelated to strength or RF area. MNA score was correlated with hip flexor strength and to global grey matter but not to SPPB. Hip flexor strength was correlated with grey matter areas involved in motor control. Walking time was negatively and rising chair sub-score was positively associated with grey matter volumes of motor areas.

Conclusions: Sarcopenia features were more frequent in frail than prefrail subjects and were associated with decrease in grey matter volumes involved in motor control.

Keywords: Frailty; MID-FRAIL; NMR imaging; SPPB; grey matter volumes; muscle; sarcopenia.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cerebral Small Vessel Diseases / pathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly
  • Frailty / physiopathology*
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscles / physiopathology
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Quality of Life
  • Sarcopenia / physiopathology*