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People with small muscles could suffer cognitive decline over time, Study says

People with small muscles could suffer cognitive decline over time

People with small muscles could suffer cognitive decline over time, according to the findings of a recent study. The study found that older people who have small muscle mass are more likely to have cognitive deterioration.

Dementia is a condition that is becoming more common throughout the world.  It has a detrimental impact on the lives of millions of individuals and those related to them. At the moment of the diagnosis, it appears that the process is already irreversible.

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According to the findings of the most recent study, increasing one’s muscle mass is one of the controllable factors. That is, that might perhaps be employed to lower one’s chance of having the ailment before it is too late.

The research emphasizes the significance of muscle mass as an independent factor connected with a quick loss in cognitive ability.

Stéphanie Chevalier, a scientist in the Metabolic Disorders and Complications Program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.
Stéphanie Chevalier, a scientist in the Metabolic Disorders and Complications Program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.

Study suggests that people with small muscles could suffer cognitive decline over time

Stéphanie Chevalier notes that while low muscle strength has recently been linked to a higher risk of dementia, little is known about a potential relationship between muscle mass and cognition.

“With this study, we demonstrate for the first time that low muscle mass is strongly linked with accelerated cognitive decline.  It also showed that this connection is independent of muscular strength and the amount of physical activity, among other variables.”

These findings are significant because muscle mass is a changeable factor—that is, we can change it. In addition, Chevalier says that exercise, especially resistance training and a healthy diet with enough prote in can help. That is, it can help preserve muscle growth over time.

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The researchers used data from the ongoing Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA). This includes a large body composition dataset and multiple cognitive tests that were given in person to a group of 30,000 people every three years.

The study team looked at the relationship between low muscle mass and future deterioration in memory. Also, executive function and psychomotor speed in people 65 and older.

“We found that low muscle mass was associated with a greater decline in executive cognitive functions over three years, compared to having normal muscle mass, but not with memory or psychomotor function loss,” says the study’s first author, Anne-Julie Tessier.

Anne-Julie Tessier, RD, PhD · Postdoctoral Researcher at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, co-founder and CEO at Keenoa
Anne-Julie Tessier, RD, PhD · Postdoctoral Researcher at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, co-founder and CEO at Keenoa

Importance of Muscles

In order to maintain attention, organize ideas and make judgments, executive functions are crucial to daily tasks and behaviors. Muscles provide a variety of vital body functions in addition to their function in strength and physical function by acting as a protein storage organ.

Muscles can communicate with the brain by secreting chemicals. It is also known that exercise and muscle growth improve executive function by sending more blood to the brain.

Our findings suggest that evaluating low muscle mass may be useful for identifying those who are more at risk of cognitive loss. Chevalier says, “We should evaluate muscles more extensively, not just in research studies but also in clinics.”

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“If there is a causal relationship, more research should establish what the processes are in order to understand if maintaining or increasing muscle slows down cognitive decline with age,” Chevalier added.

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