DOI: 10.1002/alz.081751 ISSN: 1552-5260

Assessing head muscles measured with MRI as alternative to estimate muscle mass in older persons with dementia

Miguel Germán Borda, Eric Westman, Jonathan Patricio Baldera, Gustavo Duque, Ingmar Skoog, Dag Aarsland
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Health Policy
  • Epidemiology



Current evidence suggests an association between sarcopenia and multiple negative outcomes. Traditional methods to diagnose sarcopenia are based on dual‐energy X‐ray absorptiometry (DXA) and whole body magnetic resonance imaging. These tests are complicated, time‐consuming and expensive. We aim to bring a more accessible way to diagnose sarcopenia, making its detection easier in a neurological and dementia setting where brain MRI are regularly ordered. Therefore, we aim to compare the traditional methods of muscle mass and function vs. muscle quantification using the tongue and the masseter muscle in a standard brain MRI to diagnose sarcopenia in clinical settings.


The H70 study, is a longitudinal study of people born in the Gothenburg area of Sweden aged 70 at baseline. We included 791 participants with available clinical data and MRI. DXA and bioimpedance analyses were used as reference measures. Images were analyzed using 3Dslicer.(figure 1) Adjusted speermarRo coefficients were calculated to assess the correlation between the gold standard (DXA) and the muscle mass of the tongue and masseters.


There was a higher prevalence of women (55,7%). When comparing the different tests to assess muscle mass, we found significant and positive coefficient between both tongue and masseter. Total lean tissue mass (DXA) & Tongue volume (Cm3) Rho = 0,375, total lean tissue mass (DXA) & Total masseter volume (Cm3) Rho = 0,326. < 0.001. (table1,2 Figure 2.)


There is a significant positive correlation between total lean tissue mass using DXA and muscle mass calculated with MRI measuring tongue and masseter. Clinical longitudinal Implications of these measurements will be tested in further steps of this research and exposed at the conference.

More from our Archive