Testosterone supplementation improves cognitive function in healthy older men

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Last Updated: 2001-07-16 17:28:05 EDT (Reuters Health)

WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – Short-term testosterone supplementation improves spatial functions and verbal memory in healthy older men, according to a report published in the July issue of Neurology.

Dr. Monique M. Cherrier from the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle and colleagues randomized 25 healthy men, 50 to 80 years of age, to receive a 6-week course of weekly placebo or testosterone (100 mg) injections.

In the treatment group, total testosterone levels increased by 130% and 116% after 3 and 6 weeks of treatment, respectively, compared with baseline levels. Aromatization of testosterone led to a 77% and 73% increase in estradiol levels at the same time intervals.

Spatial memory, spatial ability and verbal memory were significantly improved in the testosterone group compared with their baseline cognitive function and the cognitive function of the placebo group.

The investigators point out that the "improvements were not evident for all cognitive domains, such as selective attention or language, suggesting that increases in serum testosterone or estradiol have selective or specific effects on memory and spatial abilities."

The authors note that "it remains unclear whether these improvements in cognition are attributable to increased testosterone or estradiol levels, or both." They add that "further studies will need to examine the relative contribution of testosterone versus estradiol on cognition in men."

Neurology 2001;57:80-88.

-Westport Newsroom 203 319 2700

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