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Want to be a wise guy in old age? Take testosterone

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

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Taking testosterone supplements can boost men’s brain health into old age, a new research review has found.

Researchers from Edith Cowan University analysed the results of previous randomised control trials that examined if taking testosterone supplements improved cognitive function in older men.

They are now calling for Australian men to volunteer for a randomised control trial to test if testosterone supplementation can delay the onset of dementia.

More than 447,000 Australians are currently living with dementia.

Co-author of the study Associate Professor Hamid Sohrabi, from ECU’s Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Care, and Murdoch University School of Psychology and Exercise Science said his analysis of previous clinical trials found strong evidence that testosterone supplementation improves decision-making, judgment and problem-solving ability in older men.

“As we age our brains gradually shrink, leading to a decline in memory, problem-solving and other cognitive functions,” Professor Sohrabi said.

“This evidence shows that testosterone supplementation may help men stay mentally sharp into old age.”

The researchers analysed the results of 14 randomised controlled trials, including one recently published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Delaying dementia

Lead researcher of the review, Professor Ralph Martins AO, said what was particularly exciting about the analysis was the potential for testosterone supplementation to delay the onset of dementia.

“Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia cause a progressive deterioration in our cognitive abilities. So we are interested in seeing if it can delay the onset of these terrible diseases,” Professor Martins said.

“If testosterone supplementation, either alone or in combination with other treatments, can delay the onset of symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease by a few years, this could make a huge difference to the lives of those with the disease and their families.”

Participants needed for new trial

Professor Martins and Associate Professor Sohrabi have set up their own randomised control trial to test if testosterone supplementation on its own or in combination with fish oil can delay the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

“We need more male volunteers, aged 60-80, who are concerned about their memory, free from major medical conditions, have their testosterone levels on the low side of normal, and are not currently taking testosterone treatments,” Professor Martins said.

For more information about the trial or to volunteer email Shane Fernandez at the Australian Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (WA) or phone (08) 6304 3966.

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