Combination of gait speed and grip strength to predict cognitive decline and dementia

Suzanne G. Orchard, Galina Polekhina, Joanne Ryan, Raj C. Shah, Elsdon Storey, Trevor T.J. Chong, Jessica E. Lockery, Stephanie A. Ward, Rory Wolfe, Mark R. Nelson, Christopher M. Reid, Anne M. Murray, Sara E. Espinoza, Anne B. Newman, John J. McNeil, Taya A. Collyer, Michele L. Callisaya, Robyn L. Woods, on behalf of the ASPREE Investigator Group

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: To determine whether slowed gait and weakened grip strength independently, or together, better identify risk of cognitive decline or dementia. Methods: Time to walk 3 meters and grip strength were measured in a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial involving community-dwelling, initially cognitively healthy older adults (N = 19,114). Results: Over a median 4.7 years follow-up, slow gait and weak grip strength at baseline were independently associated with risk of incident dementia (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.44, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.19–1.73; and 1.24, 95% CI: 1.04–1.50, respectively) and cognitive decline (HR = 1.38, 95% CI: 1.26–1.51; and 1.04, 95% CI: 0.95–1.14, respectively) and when combined, were associated with 79% and 43% increase in risk of dementia and cognitive decline, respectively. Annual declines in gait and in grip over time showed similar results. Discussion: Gait speed and grip strength are low-cost markers that may be useful in the clinical setting to help identify and manage individuals at greater risk, or with early signs, of dementia, particularly when measured together. Highlights: Grip strength and gait speed are effective predictors and markers of dementia. Dementia risk is greater than cognitive decline risk with declines in gait or grip. Decline in gait speed, more so than in grip strength, predicts greater dementia risk. Greater risk prediction results from combining grip strength and gait speed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12353
Number of pages11
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • cognitive decline
  • dementia
  • gait speed
  • grip strength
  • motor performance
  • physical performance

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