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Testosterone May Improve Quality of Life In Alzheimer's

Preliminary study suggests hormone replacement may benefit patients with low serum testosterone

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Testosterone replacement therapy may improve the quality of life in men with mild Alzheimer disease, but it has little effect on cognition, according to a study posted online Dec. 12 in the Archives of Neurology.

Po H. Lu, Psy.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a 24-week study of 16 elderly male patients with mild Alzheimer disease and 22 healthy, elderly controls. They randomized participants to receive gel packets containing either testosterone or a placebo.

The researchers found that compared to the untreated men with Alzheimer disease, the testosterone-treated men had significantly greater improvement in the quality-of-life scale according to caregiver assessment. No significant differences in cognitive scores were found between the treated and untreated men with Alzheimer disease, although the treated men showed greater improvement or less decline on measures of visuospatial functions.

"The present results should be considered preliminary and do not warrant routine treatment of Alzheimer disease and healthy control men with testosterone," the authors conclude. "Future studies with larger sample sizes are needed before clinical decisions regarding testosterone therapy can be rationally based. For men with compromised quality of life, as reflected on the type of measure employed in this study, and who suffer from low serum T levels, testosterone therapy may be a reasonable consideration."

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