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Elderly Men Reap Few Benefits From Testosterone Use.

BALTIMORE -- Testosterone replacement is not significantly helpful in reducing the effects of aging, except perhaps in men with abnormally low serum testosterone concentrations prior to treatment, Dr. Peter J. Snyder said at a meeting on men's health sponsored by Johns Hopkins University.

Testosterone decreases naturally with age, and the reduced levels contribute to reductions in strength, bone mineral density, libido, and lean muscle mass, among other traits. Although prior studies have shown that testosterone therapy reverses these declines, it also increases the risk of prostate cancer and other testosterone-dependent diseases, said Dr. Snyder of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Dr. Snyder and his colleagues conducted a 3-year double-blind study of 96 healthy men older than 65 years of age with relatively low testosterone concentrations-at least one standard deviation below the mean for younger men--to determine how much testosterone affected symptoms of aging. Bone mineral density increased in both the testosterone and placebo groups. The rise was greater but not statistically significant in the testosterone group.

The investigators then looked at the serum testosterone concentrations of the subjects prior to treatment. The serum concentrations increased in the testosterone group and did not change in those using a placebo. In a man who began treatment with a serum testosterone concentration of 400 ng/dL, for example, the positive effect of testosterone on his bone mineral density after 3 years of treatment was negligible. With an initial serum testosterone concentration of only 200 ng/dL, he would have a 6% increase in bone mineral density after 3 years.
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Author:Splete, Heidi
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 15, 2001
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