advertisement
Home » News » Testosterone Levels May Influence Depression

Testosterone Levels May Influence Depression

manA new report suggests low testosterone levels may place older men at risk for depression.

While the findings are preliminary and subject to confirmation by a randomized control trial, the study could lead to new screening and treatment methodologies.

The finding is important because depression affects between 2 percent and 5 percent of the population at any given time.

Women are more likely to be depressed than men until age 65, when sex differences almost disappear. Several studies have suggested that sex hormones might be responsible for this phenomenon.

The study is found in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

Osvaldo P. Almeida, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.A.N.Z.C.P., of the University of Western Australia, Perth, and colleagues studied 3,987 men age 71 to 89 years. Between 2001 and 2004, the men completed a questionnaire reporting information about demographics and health history. They underwent testing for depression and cognitive (thinking, learning and memory) difficulties, and information about physical health conditions was obtained from a short survey and an Australian health database.

The researchers collected blood samples from the participants and recorded levels of total testosterone and free testosterone, which is not bound to proteins.

A total of 203 of the participants (5.1 percent) met criteria for depression; these men had significantly lower total and free testosterone levels then men who were not depressed. After controlling for other factors—such as education level, body mass index and cognitive scores—men in the lowest quintile (20 percent) of free testosterone concentration had three times the odds of having depression compared to men in the highest quintile.

The mechanism by which low hormone levels might affect depression risk has not been identified, but might involve changes in the levels of neurotransmitters or hormones in the brain, the authors note.

“A randomized controlled trial is required to determine whether reducing prolonged exposure to low free testosterone is associated with a reduction in the prevalence of depression in elderly men,” the authors write.

“If so, older men with depression may benefit from systematic screening of free testosterone concentration, and testosterone supplementation may contribute to the successful treatment of hypogonadal [with low hormone levels] older men with depression.”

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Testosterone Levels May Influence Depression

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Testosterone Levels May Influence Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/03/06/testosterone-levels-may-influence-depression/2008.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.