Friday, November 20, 2009

Muscle strength influences Alzheimer's risk

Compared to their weaker counterparts, seniors with strong muscles are less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, a new study finds.

Previous studies had considered weight, educational level and the amount of physical activity as important factors influencing an individual's mental function.

According to the study published in the Annals of Neurology, greater muscular strength is associated with slower decline in mental abilities over time, indicating that a single mechanism in the body is responsible for both muscle weakness and memory loss.

Compared to arm and leg strength, the power of grip and breathing-muscles was found to have greater impact on mental ability. "These findings support the link between physical health and cognition in aging and the importance of maintaining good physical function and strength," said lead researcher Patricia Boyle.

Scientists therefore urged individuals to be physically active and to keep their muscle strong in order to tackle the debilitating Alzheimer's disease. PKH/HGH

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