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Low testosterone linked to Alzheimer's disease

Date:
October 5, 2010
Source:
Saint Louis University
Summary:
Having low testosterone may put older men at risk for Alzheimer's disease, a new study finds. The researchers say the next step is to conduct a large study on testosterone to treat Alzheimer's disease.

Low levels of the male sex hormone, testosterone, in older men is associated with the onset of Alzheimer's disease, according to research by a team that includes a Saint Louis University scientist.

"Having low testosterone may make you more vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease," said John E. Morley, M.D., director of the division of geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University and a study co-investigator. "The take-home message is we should pay more attention to low testosterone, particularly in people who have memory problems or other signs of cognitive impairment."

The study was published electronically prior to its print publication scheduled in the September issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and led by Leung-Wing Chu, M.D., who is chief of the division of geriatric medicine at Queen Mary Hospital at the University of Hong Kong.

Researchers studied 153 Chinese men who were recruited from social centers. They were at least 55 years and older, lived in the community and didn't have dementia. Of those men, 47 had mild cognitive impairment -- or problems with clear thinking and memory loss.

Within a year, 10 men who all were part of the cognitively impaired group developed probable Alzheimer's disease. These men also had low testosterone in their body tissues; elevated levels of the ApoE 4 (apolipoprotein E) protein, which is correlated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease; and high blood pressure.

"It's a very exciting study because we've shown that a low level of testosterone is one of the risk factors for Alzheimer's disease," Morley said.

The findings corroborate findings in previous studies of older Caucasian men that show low testosterone is associated with impaired thinking and Alzheimer's disease. They suggest that testosterone may have a protective value against Alzheimer's disease.

The next step, Morley said, is to conduct a large-scale study that investigates the use of testosterone in preventing Alzheimer's disease. Morley and his co-authors advocate studying the effectiveness of testosterone replacement in older men who have both mild memory problems and low testosterone in staving off Alzheimer's disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Saint Louis University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Leung-Wing Chu, Sidney Tam, Rachel LC Wong, Ping-Yiu Yik, Youqiang Song, Bernard MY Cheung, John E Morley, Karen SL Lam. Bioavailable Testosterone Predicts a Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease in Older Men. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 2010; 21 (4) [link]

Cite This Page:

Saint Louis University. "Low testosterone linked to Alzheimer's disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101005171202.htm>.
Saint Louis University. (2010, October 5). Low testosterone linked to Alzheimer's disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101005171202.htm
Saint Louis University. "Low testosterone linked to Alzheimer's disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101005171202.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

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