Washington: Postmenopausal women`s verbal learning and memory improved after they were treated with testosterone gel, a new study has found.
Principal investigator Susan Davis, MBBS (MD), PhD, of Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, said that this was the first large, placebo-controlled study of the effects of testosterone on mental skills in postmenopausal women who are not on estrogen therapy.
In the investigator-initiated study, the Australian researchers randomly assigned 92 healthy postmenopausal women, ages 55 to 65, who were not receiving estrogen therapy, to receive one of two treatments for 26 weeks.
The treatments were a testosterone gel (LibiGel, BioSante Pharmaceuticals) applied daily to the upper arm, or a placebo, an identical-appearing gel containing none of the medication.
Before treatment and at 12 and 26 weeks of treatment, subjects underwent comprehensive testing of their cognitive function (mental skills) using a computer-based battery of tests designed for people with normal brain function (CogState). The investigators found no cognitive differences between groups before the start of treatment.
After 26 weeks, the women who received testosterone therapy had a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in verbal learning and memory-how well they recalled words from a list, Davis said.
The average test score for the testosterone-treated group was 1.6 points greater than that of the placebo group. No differences between the groups were evident for any other cognitive test.