Low Testosterone Levels Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease in Older Men
Medscape Medical News - The serum level of bioavailable testosterone (BT) can predict risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in older men, new research suggests.
Although low levels of BT were associated with the onset of AD, higher levels may offer protective value against the disease, report the researchers, led by Leung-Wing Chu, MD, chief of geriatric medicine at Queen Mary Hospital at the University of Hong Kong.
“The take home message is we should pay more attention to low testosterone, particularly in people who have signs of cognitive impairment,” coinvestigator John Morley, MD, professor of gerontology and director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri, told Medscape Medical News.
“We found that low testosterone did predict a pretty rapid decline in memory and conversion to Alzheimer’s,” added Dr. Morley. “So this opens up the possibility of using testosterone as a potential treatment in males who are having early memory problems.”
“We’re recognizing more and more that sex hormones play a role in multiple parts of the body, but particularly in the thought process,” said Dr. Morley.
“In our animal studies, we’ve shown that testosterone in an animal model of Alzheimer’s basically improves memory,” he explained. “So we thought it would be interesting to look at a group of males as they were aging to see whether or not low testosterone predicted an increase in Alzheimer’s for them. This was particularly important in the people who had mild cognitive impairment, as this is an area where there are no treatments available.”
Dr. Pinna says:
In nature, males have to be aggressive or they do not survive.
Aggresivity is a mental as well as a physical phenomenon. Aggressive males have to think quickly and remember their skills. Testosterone is the chemical which stimulates this behavior. Fortunately, exercise keeps levels of testosterone high. Also, high protein diets have the same result.
As women need estrogen to avoid osteoporosis, it is becoming obvious that men need testosterone in order to think.
The pharmaceutical companies will probably jump on this bandwagon within a year.