In a new study, researchers found that tests of physical performance, especially walking speed and grip strength, correlate with cognitive function in patients with diabetes.
This discovery could help identify signs of dementia earlier.
Examining the association of tests of physical performance with cognitive functioning in a diabetic population is important.
This could help identify patients with preclinical dementia who are otherwise missed.
In addition, this finding supports the practice of encouraging diabetes patients to exercise, and it underscores the importance of offering multidisciplinary health care for diabetes patients.
The researchers used data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, or CHARLS.
This study collects a wide range of health and demographic data on Chinese adults over age 45.
They used statistical analysis techniques to look for associations between tests of physical performance with measures of cognitive functioning.
The tests of physical performance include grip strength, walking speed, chair stands, and balance.
The tests of cognitive functioning include figure drawing, word recall, and the TICS-10, a measure of mental orientation and attention.
The team found that walking speed was associated with figure drawing, and grip strength was associated with episodic memory and TICS-10 score.
The researchers explained that with previous research showing that exercise can improve cognition in adults with diabetes, this discovery suggests that targeting physical performance in these individuals could also improve the associated cognitive skills.
Tingting Liu, assistant professor of nursing in the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, and colleagues conducted the research.
The finding is published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.
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Source: Journal of Advanced Nursing.