Boston University and Framingham Heart Study Researchers Found a Potential Physical Functions Test for Alzheimer's Risk

It may be possible to predict likelihood of age-related brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, using a simple physical test, according to a new Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) study.

We already know that age leads to a decline in physical functioning. The BUSM researchers, however, wanted to determine whether a dip in basic physical functions—specifically, walking speed and grip strength—could indicate a heightened risk of Alzheimer’s and stroke.

To do so, the research team used data from the Framingham Heart Study, documenting the speed at which a participant between the ages of 35 and 84 could walk without running, and the amount of force (“grip”) he or she could exert on an object. Participants were then monitored for up to 11 years.