Melbourne: Women on testosterone therapy, after menopause showed a significant improvement in verbal learning and memory, a study by Australian researchers has said.
The research led by Susan Davis, Director of the Women`s Health Research Program at Monash University is the first large randomised, placebo-controlled investigation into the effects of testosterone on cognitive function in postmenopausal women which offer a promising avenue for research into memory and ageing, said a statement by the University.
Testosterone has been implicated as being important for brain function in men and these results indicate that it has a role in optimising learning and memory in women.
Dementia which was estimated to affect more than 35 million people worldwide in 2010 is more common in women than men. There are no effective treatments to prevent memory decline.
In the study, 96 postmenopausal women recruited from the community were randomly allocated to receive a testosterone gel or a visually identical placebo gel to be applied to the skin.
Participants underwent a comprehensive series of cognitive tests at the beginning of the study and 26 weeks later.
All women performed in the normal range for their age at the beginning of the trial.
There was a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in verbal learning and memory amongst the women using the testosterone gel after 26 weeks.
Davis said the results indicated that testosterone played an important role in women`s health.
"Much of the research on testosterone in women to date has focused on sexual function. But testosterone has widespread effects in women, including, it appears, significant favourable effects on verbal learning and memory," Davis said
"Our findings provide compelling evidence for the conduct of larger clinical studies to further investigate the role of testosterone in cognitive function in women," she said.
Androgen levels did increase in the cohort on testosterone therapy, but on average, remained in the normal female range.