Association between wrist-worn free-living accelerometry and hand grip strength in middle-aged and older adults

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Crowe, Colum
Barton, John
O’Flynn, Brendan
Tedesco, Salvatore
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Introduction: Wrist-worn activity monitors have seen widespread adoption in recent times, particularly in young and sport-oriented cohorts, while their usage among older adults has remained relatively low. The main limitations are in regards to the lack of medical insights that current mainstream activity trackers can provide to older subjects. One of the most important research areas under investigation currently is the possibility of extrapolating clinical information from these wearable devices. Methods: The research question of this study is understanding whether accelerometry data collected for 7-days in free-living environments using a consumer-based wristband device, in conjunction with data-driven machine learning algorithms, is able to predict hand grip strength and possible conditions categorized by hand grip strength in a general population consisting of middle-aged and older adults. Results: The results of the regression analysis reveal that the performance of the developed models is notably superior to a simple mean-predicting dummy regressor. While the improvement in absolute terms may appear modest, the mean absolute error (6.32 kg for males and 4.53 kg for females) falls within the range considered sufficiently accurate for grip strength estimation. The classification models, instead, excel in categorizing individuals as frail/pre-frail, or healthy, depending on the T-score levels applied for frailty/pre-frailty definition. While cut-off values for frailty vary, the results suggest that the models can moderately detect characteristics associated with frailty (AUC-ROC: 0.70 for males, and 0.76 for females) and viably detect characteristics associated with frailty/pre-frailty (AUC-ROC: 0.86 for males, and 0.87 for females). Conclusions: The results of this study can enable the adoption of wearable devices as an efficient tool for clinical assessment in older adults with multimorbidities, improving and advancing integrated care, diagnosis and early screening of a number of widespread diseases.
Accelerometry , Wearable sensors , Older adults , Hand grip strength , Wrist-band devices , Frailty , Prefrailty
Crowe, C., Barton, J., O’Flynn, B. and Tedesco, S. (2024) ‘Association between wrist-worn free-living accelerometry and hand grip strength in middle-aged and older adults’, Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 36(1), 108. Available at:
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