Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Is testosterone the ‘elixir of youth’?

testosterone 125A Monash study suggests that testosterone could be used to reverse memory decline and verbal learning problems in women, with positive implications for dementia research.

While the research is still in its early stages, this is the first time an effective treatment has been discovered that may prevent memory problems in the ageing population.

Testosterone has long been linked to improved sexual health in women, as well as contributing to the brain functions of men. However, this study has shown it also has a role to play in the cognitive functions of women.

The study, headed by Susan Davis, Director of the Women’s Health Research Program, administered either a testosterone gel, or a visually identical placebo, to 96 post-menopausal women.

Participants then took place in two comprehensive cognitive tests: one at the beginning of the study, and one after 26 weeks.

The women who had used the testosterone gel showed significant improvement in verbal learning and memory by the end of the research period, with no negative side effects.

“Much of the research on testosterone in women to date has focused on sexual function,” Professor Davis said on the Monash University news website.

“But testosterone has widespread effects in women, including it appears, significant favourable effects on verbal learning and memory.”

Professor Davis has also been developing a nasal spray which can administer testosterone simply and efficiently to women, as Today Tonight reports.

Positive effects of the hormone, along with the recent findings in cognitive ability, include a lowering of sexual dysfunction, and an increased feeling of health and vitality.

However, unlike drugs which work on male sexual dysfunction, it is not easily available in any Australian state except WA.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration won’t approve its use until a sponsor applies to register the product in Australia.

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