Declining levels of reproductive hormone seen in older men is probably a consequence of cognitive decline rather than a cause, a Sydney study shows.
The Concord Health and Ageing in Men Project (CHAMP) which followed men aged over 70 for five years found that declines in serum androgen levels and estrone (E1) levels over time were significantly associated with declines in cognitive function.
Men with dementia at baseline had a greater decline in serum testosterone (T) and calculated free testosterone (cFT) but not in other reproductive measures over the follow-up period, reported the researchers in JCEM.
Given that cognitive decline is not a recognized clinical feature of life-long hypogonadism and cognitive function is not significantly improved by T treatment the findings suggest that low T DHT, cFT and E1 “may be more likely a consequence of cognitive impairment, rather than its cause,” they wrote.
“Our study suggests that reduced cognitive function may be an important but under recognised contributor to the lowering of androgen status in older men,” they concluded.