Temporal Muscle Thickness: A Practical Approximation for Assessing Muscle Mass in Older Adults

Miguel German Borda, Jonathan Patricio Baldera, Jessica Samuelsson, Anna Zettergren, Lina Rydén, Eric Westman, Mario Ulises Pérez-Zepeda, Silke Kern, Luis Carlos Venegas, Gustavo Duque, Ingmar Skoog, Dag Aarsland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Ongoing research has evidenced the importance of muscle measurement in predicting adverse outcomes. Measurement of other muscles is promising in current research. This study aimed to determine the correlation between temporal muscle thickness (TMT) and appendicular lean soft tissue (ALSTI) in older adults.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS: Single cohort gathered in Gothenburg, Sweden, consisting of individuals born in 1944 (n = 1203).

METHODS: We studied 657 magnetic resonance images to measure TMT. Comparisons of TMT with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry ALSTI (kg/m 2) as a reference standard were performed. Finally, TMT associations with cognition evaluated using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), gait speed, and handgrip strength were explored with linear regressions.

RESULTS: The correlation between TMT and ALSTI was weak yet significant (r = 0.277, P < .001). TMT exhibited significant associations with MMSE (estimate = 0.168, P = .002), gait speed (estimate = 1.795, P < .001), and ALSTI (estimate = 0.508, P < .001). These associations varied when analyzed by sex. In women, TMT was significantly associated with gait speed (estimate = 1.857, P = .005) and MMSE (estimate = 0.223, P = .003). In men, TMT scores were significantly correlated with ALSTI scores (estimate = 0.571, P < .001).

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Repurposing head images can be an accessible alternative to detect muscle mass and ultimately detect sarcopenia. These studies have the potential to trigger interventions or further evaluation to improve the muscle and overall health of individuals. However, additional research is warranted before translating these findings into clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
StateE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jan 2024


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