Tongue Strength Is Associated with Jumping Mechanography Performance and Handgrip Strength but Not with Classic Functional Tests in Older Adults

Authors

  • Bjoern Buehring MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
    2. Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, Wisconsin
    • Osteoporosis Clinical Research Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
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  • Jacqueline Hind MS,

    1. School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
    2. Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, Wisconsin
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  • Ellen Fidler BS,

    1. Osteoporosis Clinical Research Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
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  • Diane Krueger BS,

    1. Osteoporosis Clinical Research Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
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  • Neil Binkley MD,

    1. Osteoporosis Clinical Research Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
    2. School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
    3. Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, Wisconsin
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  • JoAnne Robbins PhD

    1. School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
    2. Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, Wisconsin
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Address correspondence to Bjoern Buehring, University of Wisconsin Osteoporosis Clinical Research Program, 2870 University Avenue, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53705. E-mail: bbuehring@medicine.wisc.edu

Abstract

Objectives

To determine whether classic muscle function tests and jumping mechanography (JM) are related to tongue strength.

Design

Cross-sectional.

Setting

Community.

Participants

Ninety-seven community-dwelling individuals aged 70 and older (49 female, 48 male, mean age 80.7, range 70–95) with and without identified sarcopenia.

Measurements

Participants performed muscle function tests including the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), grip strength, and JM. Isometric tongue strength was evaluated using the Iowa Oral Performance Instrument (IOPI). JM consisted of maximal countermovement jumps performed on a force plate to calculate weight-corrected peak power and jump height. Total body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry was used to assess appendicular lean mass (ALM) to define sarcopenia based on commonly used ALM/height2 cutoffs. Associations between IOPI measures and other muscle function tests were evaluated.

Results

Sarcopenia was present in 23.7% (23/97) of this cohort. Anterior isometric tongue pressure was positively correlated with grip strength (P = .003), jump height (= .01), and power (= .04). Individuals in the lowest tertile of tongue pressure had lower scores on these muscle function tests than individuals in the other tertiles. Classic functional tests and ALM/height2 were unrelated to tongue strength.

Conclusion

In older adults with and without sarcopenia, isometric tongue pressure is positively correlated with grip strength and jump height and power. These data support consideration of oropharyngeal functional decline as part of the sarcopenia syndrome.

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