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Effects of testosterone supplementation on separate cognitive domains in cognitively healthy older men: A meta-analysis of current randomized clinical trials

Tan, S., Sohrabi, H.R.ORCID: 0000-0001-8017-8682, Weinborn, M., Tegg, M., Bucks, R.S., Taddei, K., Carruthers, M. and Martins, R.N. (2019) Effects of testosterone supplementation on separate cognitive domains in cognitively healthy older men: A meta-analysis of current randomized clinical trials. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 27 (11). pp. 1232-1246.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2019.05.008
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Abstract

Background

An increasing body of literature suggests a positive, neuroprotective effect for testosterone on cognition in older men. However, randomized clinical trials (RCTs) examining the effects of testosterone supplementation (TS) on cognitive function have been inconclusive.

Objective

To investigate the potential for TS to prevent cognitive decline in otherwise cognitively healthy older men, by examining the differential effects of TS on cognitively healthy older men in RCTs.

Methods

Comprehensive search of electronic databases, conference proceedings, and grey literature from 1990 to 2018 was performed to identify RCTs examining the effects of TS on cognition before and after supplementation, in cognitively healthy individuals.

Results

A final sample of 14 eligible RCTs met inclusion criteria. Using pooled random effects expressed as Hedge's g, comparison of placebo versus treatment groups pre- and postsupplementation showed improvements in the treatment group in executive function (g (11) = 0.14, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.03–0.26, z = 0.56, p = 0.011). However, it was noted that two studies in our sample did not report a significant increase in mean serum total testosterone (TT) levels in the treatment group after supplementation. Following exclusion of these studies, analysis indicated improvement in the treatment group for the overall cognitive composite (g (11) = 0.18, 95% CI: 0.02–0.33, z = 2.18), psychomotor speed (g (3) = 0.22, 95% CI: 0.01–0.43, z = 2.07) and executive function (g (9) = 0.15, 95% CI: 0.03–0.28, z = 2.35). No significant differences were noted for the global cognition, attention, verbal memory, visuospatial ability or visuospatial memory domains.

Conclusion

Overall, our findings support the potential for TS as a preventative measure against cognitive decline, although the effect sizes were small. These findings warrant further observational studies and clinical trials of good methodological quality, to elucidate the effect of TS on cognition.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier Inc.
Copyright: © 2019 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/55552
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