Grip strength could indicate how long you have left to live – study

Centenarian reveals SURPRISE drink that helps her live longer

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The team of authors said that their new findings, published in the Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia, and Muscle, demonstrated that grip strength corresponds with a phenomenon known as an epigenetic clock.

An epigenetic clock is a biomarker which evaluates the age of someone’s DNA; it is believed that understanding these biomarkers in greater depth could help patients better manage their illnesses.

The team examined data from around 1,300 people at or over the age of 50; this group was then followed for around eight to 10 years.

In their conclusion, the team wrote: “Our findings provide some initial evidence of age acceleration among men and women with lower NGS (Normalised Grip Strength) and loss of strength over time. Preservation of muscle strength may positively influence healthy ageing by protecting against DNAm age acceleration.”

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They continued: “Future research is needed to understand the extent to which DNAm age mediates the association between grip strength and chronic disease, disability and early mortality, as well as the extent to which lifestyle/behavioural factors (e.g. physical activity and dietary status) can mediate the association between grip strength and accelerated/decelerated DNAm age.”

Speaking to charity Diabetes.co.uk, lead author of the study Professor Mark Peterson said: “Grip strength has long been considered a biomarker of aging. However, very few studies have tried to understand the biological mechanism(s) that link weakness with negative health outcomes (including mortality).”

Professor Peterson continued: “On the positive side, it is likely that greater grip strength is associated with lifestyles such as exercise and healthy dietary habits.

“On the negative side, it is likely that weaker grip strength is associated with obesity-related chronic conditions, other noncommunicable diseases, and sedentary lifestyles.”

Alongside noting an overall loss in grip strength, they also noted a difference between men and women. Doctor Peterson explained: “We have recently also demonstrated that muscle weakness and testosterone deficiency were highly correlated and independently associated with multi-morbidity in young and older men.

“In our current study, there seemed to be a more pronounced/robust cross-sectional association [a comparison of a population] between lower grip strength and age acceleration in men.”

On the other hand, Doctor Peterson added: “However, the opposite was true for the longitudinal association [a comparison over time], which was more pronounced/robust among women.

“We cannot speculate what is driving that difference.”

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Can certain conditions speed up the rate of ageing?

Yes, they can. This includes type 2 diabetes. According to a recent study published in May this year, diabetes speeds up brain ageing.

The analysis was conducted on 20,000 people using UK Biobank data and observed a link between diabetes and increased neurodegeneration.

They estimated that brain ageing was accelerated by around 26 percent.

Primary author of the study Botond Antal said to eLife: “The neurological effects of type 2 diabetes may reveal themselves many years before they can be detected by standard measures, so by the time type 2 diabetes is diagnosed by conventional tests, patients may have already sustained irreversible brain damage.”

Senior author Lilianne Mujica-Parodi added: “Our findings suggest that type 2 diabetes and its progression may be associated with accelerated brain aging, potentially due to compromised energy availability causing significant changes to brain structure and function.

“By the time diabetes is formally diagnosed, this damage may already have occurred. But brain imaging could provide a clinically valuable metric for identifying and monitoring these neurocognitive effects associated with diabetes.

“Our results underscore the need for research into brain-based biomarkers for type 2 diabetes and treatment strategies that specifically target its neurocognitive effects.”

As a result, this demonstrates the far-reaching impact of type 2 diabetes beyond high blood sugar.

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