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Decline of Testosterone in Old-age Leads to Falls

Low levels of testosterone in men of ages 65 and beyond was linked to more frequent falls than among older men with higher levels of male sex hormone, testosterone, according// to a study published on Monday.

The report from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland attributed this to the impaired vision, thinking processes or coordination, resulting from low levels of this hormone.

Dr. Eric Orwoll, a professor of medicine at the school said, "Like women on hormone replacement therapy, many older men are turning to testosterone therapy to regain some of what has been lost physically and mentally in the aging process."

He added, "These results validate the need for more research on this trend in treatment for men in the advanced years of life."

2,587 men of ages 65 to 99 were involved in the study starting from 2000 and continuing to March of 2005. A blood test was done to measure their testosterone levels, recordings of their grip strength, leg power and balance ability were made and were required to report every four months whether they had fallen.

The researchers found that fifty-six percent of the men had at least one fall, and many fell frequently. Lower testosterone levels were generally found to be linked with increased risk of fall. In fact it was estimated that men with the lowest testosterone levels had around 40 percent higher risk of falling than those with the highest levels.

The study has been published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. It points out that testosterone decline is a normal part of aging in men and that previous studies had demonstrated that older men with low levels of testosterone who got shots of testosterone showed an increase in muscle mass and strength.

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