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Testosterone may treat dementia, study says

A novel study suggested this week that testosterone could be used in preventing or reducing the symptoms of dementia among post-menopausal women.

A research team at Monash University’s Women’s Health program compared a control group of 30 women, who received no treatment, with a group of nine women between the ages of 47 and 60 who received testosterone spray on their skin, which returned their testosterone levels to those typical of young women of childbearing age.

The team led by Dr. Sonia Davison found, after 26 weeks, that the testosterone-treated group had significantly improved their verbal learning and memory, while the control group showed no significant change.

This indicates that testosterone spray improves memory, loss of which is considered a warning sign of dementia, she said.

As women age their testosterone levels decrease, reaching a low at age 65, which also happens to be the age at which incidence of dementia begins to climb, Davison said in a press release. She said that compared to men, women have double the rate of dementia, hence the possibility that maybe testosterone protects memory.

She said the test was designed to find a way to reduce the onset of dementia.

“What is exciting is that the testosterone-treated women were all healthy, with no cognitive impairment, and there was still a definite treatment effect from the spray,” She said.

The finding was presented at The Endocrine Society’s 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston earlier this week. Davison is now recruiting larger numbers of women aged 55-70 to participate in follow-up studies that will involve a testosterone gel and a testosterone patch.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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