30 September 2007
An Edith Cowan University (ECU) study has found that testosterone replacement therapy lowers the levels of the toxic Alzheimer’s disease protein, beta amyloid, in an animal model and in a pilot study in humans.
These findings have led to calls for a large-scale clinical trial to determine whether testosterone therapy can prevent this debilitating disease.
Scientists at ECU’s Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Care completed a comprehensive literary review to look at all the evidence that has been published on hormone levels and Alzheimer’s disease.
Extensive literary evidence suggests that there is a strong link between testosterone levels and the secretion of a small protein called beta amyloid. Beta amyloid is thought to be a major factor in causing Alzheimer’s disease and its levels rise in response to known genetic and lifestyle risk factors.
In conjunction with the literary review, the ECU study conducted animal and pilot human studies to prove that testosterone replacement reduced beta amyloid levels and thus the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
“This use of testosterone as a potential effective treatment for Alzheimers disease must be further investigated,” Professor Ralph Martins, the study’s author said.
“While this potential therapeutic agent shows promise in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease it must first be examined in a large-scale global clinical trial before a definite conclusion can be reached. However, if successful, testosterone could be an ideal treatment as it targets beta amyloid at a number of levels and is thus superior to the anti-amyloid drugs that are in development.
Furthermore it has the added advantage over other drugs in that its availability to patients would be relatively rapid”.
Professor Ralph Martin’s findings have been published in the September issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Volume 12, Issue 2, a leading international journal dedicated to understanding, researching and treating Alzheimer's disease.
Contact: James Fuller
ECU Corporate Communications
+61 (0) 437 156 978