Related Topics: Hormones, Men's Hormones, News, Research

Low Testosterone Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

Hormone Health doesn’t just apply to women, men can be seriously affected too.

AnnA Rushton

Hormone balance is not confined to women but somehow men don’t get the same level of attention.  This may be because they do not pay as much attention to their own health, or visit the doctor as often, so this article is aimed as much at the women in their life as it is at them.

Testosterone, the male sex hormone, is often referred to in the negative sense when there is a lot of it on display — the crowd at any large sporting event or any situation where overconfidence and occasionally violence can be the result.  However having low levels of testosterone can certainly be as damaging, particularly for the individual concerned, and there is now new evidence that low levels in older men is associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

This new research comes from a team that was led by Leung-Wing Chu, M.D., Chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Queen Mary Hospital at the University of Hong Kong. Researchers studied 153 Chinese men who were at least 55 years and older, lived in the community and didn’t have dementia. Of those men, 47 had mild cognitive impairment — or problems with clear thinking and memory loss.

Within a year, 10 men who all were part of the cognitively impaired group developed probable Alzheimer’s disease. They also had low testosterone; elevated levels of the ApoE 4 (apolipoprotein E) protein, which is correlated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease; and high blood pressure.

The findings corroborate findings in previous studies of older Caucasian men that show low testosterone is associated with impaired thinking and Alzheimer’s disease.  At the least, it suggests that low levels makes a man more vulnerable and as part of regular health checks for older men the level should be monitored.

Going a step further, the research indicates that having good levels of testosterone may also have a protective value against the disease.  More research is planned on a larger scale to investigate the exact effect of testosterone replacement in older men who have both mild memory problems and low testosterone in staving off Alzheimer’s disease.

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