Low muscle strength linked to premature death, says study

Individuals with weaker muscles do not typically live as long as their stronger peers, and are 50 per cent more likely to die earlier, finds a study.

According to researchers, muscle strength may be an even more important predictor of overall health and longevity than muscle mass.

In addition, hand grip strength specifically has been found to be inversely related to mobility limitations and disability.

However, despite being a relatively simple and cost-effective test, grip strength measurement is not currently part of most routine physicals, they said.

“Maintaining muscle strength throughout life-and especially in later life-is extremely important for longevity and ageing independently,” said lead researcher Kate Duchowny, post-doctoral student at the University of California-San Francisco.

The study, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, highlights the importance of integrating grip strength measurements into routine care-not just for older adults but even in midlife.

“Having hand grip strength be an integral part of routine care would allow for earlier interventions, which could lead to increased longevity and independence for individuals,” Duchowny said.

For the study, the team analysed data of 8,326 men and women, aged 65 and older.

After adjusting for socio-demographic factors, chronic health conditions and smoking history, the results showed that people with low muscle strength are 50 per cent more likely to die earlier.


Not just antibiotic abuse, corruption, low health spend also fuel superbugs

superbugs,antibiotic abuse,micro-organisms resistant

Superbugs — disease-causing bacteria and micro-organisms resistant to conventional medicines — aren’t caused just by overuse of antibiotics but also by poor sanitation, unsafe water, higher income and education (because these improve access), corruption and low public health spending, even hotter weather, according to a new study.

Overuse and misuse of antibiotics have long been believed to fuel antimicrobial resistance (AMR), but new research shows that simply lowering consumption is not enough. Poor sanitation, corruption and low public health spending have a bigger role in pushing up drug-resistant infections in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), including India, according a study published in Lancet Planetary Health.

“Lowering of antibiotic consumption is not sufficient because the spread of resistant strains and resistance genes are the dominant contributing factor,” said study co-author Ramanan Laxminarayan from the Princeton Environmental Institute, University of Princeton, US.

“Providing sanitation, clean water and good governance, increasing public health expenditure and better regulating the private health sector are all necessary to reduce antimicrobial resistance,” added Laxminarayan.

“This is not to say that antibiotic consumption should not be lowered; it is an important factor to lower AMR when all these other correlations have been fixed. Simply reducing consumption will not enough when the resistant gene is out there, we must stop transmission by fixing all the above,” he said.

Quantifying the effects of improving the indices with the most potential for reducing antimicrobial resistance, the study found E coli resistance levels fall by 18.6% for every one standard deviation improvement in the infrastructure index. Additionally, there was a 5.5% decrease in E coli resistance levels if the governance index was improved by one standard deviation.

“In India, antibiotics are used most often to treat diarrhoea and upper respiratory tract infections, both of which can be reduced by improving sanitation, providing clean water, adopting personal hygiene and getting vaccinated,” said Kamini Walia, senior scientist and programme officer ( antimicrobial resistance), Indian Council of Medical Research.

Even temperature has a role to play. The warmer the country, the higher its antimicrobial resistance levels, found the study. Studies in the past, including one published in Nature Climate Change in May, have linked higher local temperatures and population densities with more antibiotic resistance in common bacterial strains.

“Warm temperatures offer more potential for bacteria to multiply and transfer antimicrobial resistance, as do higher insect populations, which also spread resistant bacteria. It’s worrying for countries like India, which are recording more hot days,” said Laxminarayan.

Other factors that pushed up antimicrobial resistance in LMICs were higher income, education and a high number of private clinics. “Along with increasing online sales and misuse of antibiotics as an infection control and growth factor in animals, higher income and education help to improve access and raise the risk of overuse. India has to improve regulation and create models for sanitation and hygiene, including in animal and poultry breeding,” said Walia.

“Containing antimicrobial resistance needs a multi-pronged approach, there is no magic bullet,” Laxminarayan said