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10 April 2006
Testosterone Treatment Of Assistance To MS Sufferers?
by George Atkinson

A study presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting suggests that men with multiple sclerosis (MS) may benefit from testosterone therapy. It appears that testosterone can slow the brain atrophy associated with MS and in some cases, may even improve brain function.

In men, the onset of MS is generally later in life, which coincides with a decline in testosterone levels. The researchers, from the University of California at Los Angeles, speculate that testosterone may serve to protect the nerve cells that are damaged by the autoimmune response that occurs in MS.

The one-year long study involved 10 men who received 100 mg of testosterone daily.

Assessments, including cognitive measures and blood tests, were obtained every three months, and magnetic resonance images were reviewed on a monthly basis.

The researchers said that compared to the pretreatment period, significant improvements in cognitive performance were detectable after 12 months of treatment with testosterone. Bolstering the findings further, blood tests showed that the production of an important protective brain chemical had more than doubled after testosterone supplementation. And perhaps most importantly, the rate of brain atrophy slowed by 67 percent during the last nine months of treatment.

Study author Nancy Sicotte said the results were impressive, showing "significant improvements in cognitive function, increases in neurotrophic factor production and a slowing of brain atrophy." But she is cautious, given the small size of the study. "Our study results in this small group of patients suggest that testosterone therapy may have neuroprotective effects... but further study in larger groups of men with RRMS is needed to confirm these preliminary results."

Based on material from the American Academy of Neurology

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