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Bioavailable Testosterone Linked to Lower Alzheimer’s Risk

Last Updated: October 14, 2010.

Higher levels of bioavailable testosterone may be protective against Alzheimer's disease in older men, according to research published online Aug. 6 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

THURSDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Higher levels of bioavailable testosterone may be protective against Alzheimer's disease in older men, according to research published online Aug. 6 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Leung-Wing Chu, M.D., M.B.B.S., of the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues analyzed data from 153 community-dwelling older Chinese men, mean age 72.7. Subjects underwent assessment of morning serum total testosterone, bioavailable testosterone (BT), and sex hormone binding globulin at baseline and then were assessed at one year for dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD), the latter diagnosed with NINCDS-ADRDA criteria.

The researchers found that 10 participants (6.5 percent) developed dementia, with all being diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Baseline serum bioavailable testosterone level was associated with a lower risk of AD (adjusted relative risk, 0.22). Baseline systolic blood pressure and ApoE ε4 genotype were associated with higher risks (RR, 1.04 and 5.04, respectively), but sex hormone binding globulin was not.

"The results of the present study provide further supporting evidence for a possible etiological or at least contributory role of testosterone in protecting the brain from deterioration to AD. We hypothesize that, in the natural history of development of AD in older men, a decrease in serum BT level in non-demented older men plays at least a contributory role in the conversion to AD," the authors write.

A co-author disclosed relationships with several pharmaceutical companies.

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