Firm handshake link to long life
The strength of your handshake could be a clue to how long you'll live, say scientists from University College London.
They matched older people's balance, grip strength and ability to get up from a chair with their risk of an earlier death.
The researchers found that death rates over the period of the studies were 67% higher in people with the weakest grip strength compared with the strongest.
A similar pattern was found in the other measures, with the slowest walkers almost three times more likely to die compared with the fastest.
Frail and weak people are more likely to die than strong and healthy people. Hold the front page.
Those slowest to rise from a chair had double the mortality rate compared with those quickest to their feet.
Even being able to balance on one leg appeared to be linked with a reduced risk of death.
People who can barely stand up are less healthy than those who can hop. Here's Tom with the weather.
And what are the practical applications of this doubtless well-funded piece of research?
Professor Avan Aihie Sayer, a geriatrician and co-author on the study based at Southampton University, said that she was now pushing for wider use of measures such as grip strength in hospitals as a way of spotting patients with greater problems.
That would be greeting patients by shaking their hand, wouldn't it? In these difficult economic times, it would certainly be cost-effective. And about a thousand years ago it might even have been a step forward as a method of diagnosis.
I haven't been in a hospital in a while, admittedly, but I was under the impression that we had slightly more sophisticated methods and technology these days—stethoscopes, X-rays, body-scans, blood tests etc. Or is all handshakes and leeches again these days?
Next week in the BMJ: New study shows that fiddles and butcher's dogs are fitter than the bed-ridden and terminally ill.