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Alzheimer's Disease

Testosterone ups quality of life in men with AD

12 years, 5 months ago

571  0
Posted on Mar 04, 2006, 8 a.m. By Bill Freeman

A testosterone patch can improve the quality of life for men with Alzheimer 's disease (AD), but it seems to have little effect on cognition, according to the results of a study. Previous reports have suggested that testosterone levels are lower in men with Alzheimer's than in their counterparts without the neurologic disorder. Testosterone use has been shown to improve cognition in older men without Alzheimer's disease and, in animal models, treatment with the male hormone has been linked to reduced formation of beta-amyloid, the protein that forms the plaques that clog the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

A testosterone patch can improve the quality of life for men with Alzheimer 's disease (AD), but it seems to have little effect on cognition, according to the results of a study.

Previous reports have suggested that testosterone levels are lower in men with Alzheimer's than in their counterparts without the neurologic disorder. Testosterone use has been shown to improve cognition in older men without Alzheimer's disease and, in animal models, treatment with the male hormone has been linked to reduced formation of beta-amyloid, the protein that forms the plaques that clog the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

In a 24-week, study, Dr. Po H. Lu, from the University of California at Los Angeles, and colleagues assessed the effects of daily treatment with testosterone or placebo gel in 16 men with Alzheimer's disease and 22 healthy men.

In the Alzheimer's group, testosterone therapy was tied to significant improvements in caregiver-rated quality of life, compared with placebo.

Although the active therapy was also linked to improvements in some cognitive functions, these were not statistical significant and no overall effect on cognition was noted.

Testosterone also provided quality of life benefits in the healthy control group, but the improvements, relative to placebo, did not reach statistical significance. No effect on cognition or mood was seen with testosterone in this group.

Testosterone therapy may be a reasonable option for men with Alzheimer's disease who have low serum levels of the hormone and a compromised quality of life, the authors comment. However, these findings should be considered preliminary, they note, adding that additional studies with larger sample sizes are needed.

SOURCE: Archives of Neurology, February 2006.

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