Testosterone may fight Alzheimer's in men

Jan. 27, 2004 at 9:40 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A new study suggests men who experience dramatic drops in testosterone levels may be more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease later in life.

Researchers at the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, analyzed data from 574 men, ages 32 to 87.

During the 19-year study, 54 men received a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, USA Today reported Tuesday.

The researchers found signs that men with higher percentages of "free" testosterone -- testosterone in the blood not attached to protein -- might have a greater protection against the disease. The testosterone that flows through the brain may help prevent the cells from deteriorating, researchers said.

A spokesman for the Alzheimer's Association in Chicago said some researchers speculate estrogen performs a similar function in the brains of women.

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