Testosterone could combat dementia in women, Monash University
Scientists have been studying testosterone’s role in dementia for some time and below we offer some of the latest findings.
In a study from June, 2013 it was found that, post-menopausal women on testosterone therapy showed a significant improvement in verbal learning and memory.
Led by Professor Susan Davis the Director of the Women’s Health Research Program at Monash University, the study is the first large controlled investigation into the effects of testosterone on brain function in postmenopausal women.
Testosterone has been implicated as being important for brain function in men and these results indicate that it has a role in optimising learning and memory in women.
It is believed that dementia affected more than 35 million people worldwide in 2010 and it is more common in women than men.
Another very important problem is that there are no known effective treatments to prevent memory decline and the search for a treatment is important as the costs in reduced quality of life of sufferers, their loved ones, and carers can be crippling.
In the Monash University study, 96 postmenopausal women were recruited from the community and were then randomly allocated to receive a form of testosterone that they rubbed onto their skin or a one that looked identical but had no medicating affects.
All the participants underwent a comprehensive series of cognitive tests at the beginning of the study and again 6 months later.
All women performed in the normal range for their age at the beginning of the trial but there was a significant improvement in verbal learning and memory in women who were given testosterone gel after the second set of tests.
Testosterone levels did increase in the group given testosterone therapy, but on average, remained in the normal female range. No negative side-effects of the therapy were found.
Professor Davis suggested that the results show that testosterone plays a vital role in women’s mental health.
If you’re worried about your testosterone levels please take our no cost, five-minute testosterone quiz for women.
Research shows that men are more likely to develop dementia if they have low testosterone levels.
In 2010, researchers from the United States and Hong Kong studied a group of 47 older Chinese men with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). People suffering from MCI have small changes in memory and cognitive skills, but are most often still capable of managing their lives – this is not true of people with dementia.
MCI is also a significant factor in the development of Alzheimer’s later in life (http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20101008/low-testosterone-linked-to-alzheimers-risk).
Testosterone levels were measured at the start of the study. One year later, the men were assessed for dementia. Ten of them were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. These men had all had low levels of free testosterone in their earlier blood tests.
In 2013, a study by French researchers (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24035146) found that low testosterone levels were associated with increased dementia risk in men. This risk was greater in men over age 80. It was also higher in men with higher levels of education.
If you’re worried about your testosterone levels please take our free 5-minute testosterone quiz for men.
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