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September 22/29, 2004

Age-Related Testosterone Depletion and the Development of Alzheimer Disease

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(12):1431-1432. doi:10.1001/jama.292.12.1431-b

To the Editor: Normal male aging is associated with declines in serum levels of the sex steroid hormone testosterone, which contributes to a range of disorders including osteoporosis and sarcopenia.1 Unknown is how this relationship applies to age-related disorders in the brain, an androgen-responsive tissue. We hypothesize that testosterone levels in the brain are depleted as a normal consequence of male aging and that low brain levels of testosterone increase the risk of developing Alzheimer disease (AD). Recent data suggest a correspondence between reduced serum levels of testosterone and the clinical diagnosis of AD.2,3 However, it is unclear whether testosterone depletion contributes to or results from the disease process. To investigate this issue, testosterone and estradiol levels were analyzed in postmortem brain tissue of elderly men and compared with their neuropathological diagnoses.

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