Attitude, Health

What Testosterone Does And Doesn’t Do

Here’s a sentence from the New York Times‘ recent report on testosterone studies: “Testosterone has been available as a drug for so long that it was never subjected to clinical trials of safety and efficacy as most new drugs are today.” Yikes! Over the past year, however, several studies have been published, and the Times gives us a nice summary of the good and bad news about testosterone supplements. For the clinical trials described, the Times reports, scientists followed 790 men age 65 and older who had blood testosterone levels below 275 nanograms per deciliter of blood, well below the average for healthy young men and lower than would be expected with normal aging. The men, who were followed for one year, also had symptoms reflecting their low hormone levels, like loss of sex drive. Half the participants were treated with testosterone gel, and half were given a placebo gel. First the ¬†good news. Testosterone did correct anemia and it did improve bone density. Then the mediocre news: it did nothing to improve memory or cognitive function. And then the bad news: testosterone appeared to foster a buildup of noncalcified plaque in the coronary arteries of men treated with testosterone for a year, an indicator of cardiac risk. Read more about testosterone studies in the New York Times.

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