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Testosterone Keeps Women's Brains Sharp

Testosterone gel improved performance on a specific cognitive task among postmenopausal women with normal cognitive function at baseline.

By Denise Mann, HealthDay News

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TUESDAY, June 18, 2013 (MedPage Today) —A testosterone gel applied daily may improve cognitive performance in postmenopausal women, a randomized trial suggested.

Among women who were not cognitively impaired, those who received testosterone performed an average of 1.57 points better on the International Shopping List Task -- a measure of verbal learning and memory in which scores can range from 0 to 48 -- than those who received placebo after 26 weeks (P=0.037), according to Susan Davis, MBBS, PhD, of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

The difference is clinically relevant and equal to the reduction in performance expected in 1 year among patients with Alzheimer's disease and to the average increase seen in studies of an investigational histamine H3 antagonist -- GSK239512 -- that is being developed for patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease, she reported at the Endocrine Society meeting here.

The current study "suggests that the women are performing suboptimally even though it's normal for their age group and that we can really have women performing more optimally in terms of cognitive performance if they have a small dose of testosterone therapy," Davis said in an interview.

She noted that the effect on verbal learning and memory seen in the current trial is consistent with two smaller studies of testosterone therapy she and her colleagues have performed, and said that further investigation in larger and longer studies is warranted.

She cautioned that "this is not sufficient information that women should be started on testosterone therapy in general practice, but what it means is that we need to be looking at this as an area of research where we could possibly preserve cognitive function in women as they age and maybe delay the onset of cognitive decline."

The trial included 92 healthy postmenopausal women ages 55 to 65 (mean age 60) who were not taking any systemic sex hormone therapy and had normal cognitive function at baseline. They were randomized to daily administration of a transdermal gel containing 0.22 grams of testosterone or to placebo for 26 weeks.

The average testosterone level among the women was near the lower limit of normal at baseline, and it increased by a median of 1.7 nmol/L in the treatment group, bringing levels into the mid-normal range.

The women in the two groups had similar cognitive function at baseline.

The primary outcome was the score on the International Shopping List Task included in CogState, a computerized cognitive battery. Secondary outcomes included other cognitive variables -- such as visual attention, psychomotor function, visual learning, and executive function -- and scores on the Psychological General Well-Being Index.

Scores on the International Shopping List Task were significantly better in the testosterone group compared with the placebo group at 26 weeks, but there were no differences between the two groups for the other cognitive measures or for psychological well-being.

Davis said the treatment was well tolerated and pointed out that studies on the use of testosterone in women have not revealed any significant adverse effects on cardiovascular risk, lipids, insulin resistance, or breast cancer risk.






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Date: 19.12.2018, 03:24 / Views: 31564