Muscle strength, lower extremity functional performance and body composition in elderly women with mild cognitive impairment

Abstract Introduction: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is characterized by subjective memory complaints and is considered an intermediate stage between normal and pathological cognitive function. The decline in cognitive function may be associated with low functional performance and alterations in body composition in older adults. Objective: To assess muscle strength, lower extremity functional performance and body composition in elderly women with MCI. Methods: Forty-three elderly women (aged 60-80 years) participated in the study. Participants were divided into two groups: elderly women with MCI (n = 19) and elderly women without MCI (n = 24). To diagnose MCI, we used the instruments proposed by Petersen et al. According to it, the subjects had to have memory complaints that had no effects on basic or instrumental activities of daily living. Muscle strength was assessed via palmar grip strength (PGS) using a dynamometer (Jamar®) and knee extension strength (KES) was assessed using the one-repetition maximum test (1-RM). Lower extremity (LE) functional performance was assessed using the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) and body composition was measured using biometrical impedance analysis (Biodynamics Model 310). Results: There was a significant difference in muscle strength between groups. The group with MCI had lower PGS (p = 0.002) and KES (p = 0.002), when compared to their counterparts. No significant difference between groups was found for the other variables, like SPPB and body composition. We found a positive, significant correlation between SPPB and KES (r = 0.55; p = 0.0001), SPPB and PGS (r = 0.37; p = 0.0155), KES and PGS (r = 0.59; p < 0.0001), and between lean mass and PGS (r = 0.36; p = 0.0184). Conclusion: Elderly women with MCI show reduced LE muscle strength and PGS, but no differences between groups were found for LE functional performance and body composition.