Washington: In what could revolutionise a woman`s life after her menstruation ceases, scientists have come up with a skin spray of sex hormone testosterone which they claim improves a post-menopausal female`s brain function.
Testosterone production declines after menopause, so postmenopausal women usually have half as much the hormone as as younger women. It`s said that postmenopausal women suffer dementia at twice the rate of men due to its lower levels.
Now, an international team, led by Monash University, has carried out a study and showed that testosterone treatment improves brain function in healthy postmenopausal women.
The scientists have based their findings on an analysis of 10 women, aged 45 to 60 years, who were treated with a daily skin spray of testosterone for six months.
The women showed improvements in visual and verbal learning and memory on sensitive computerised tests after treatment. They also underwent tests of brain function while
undergoing an MRI scan.
"The tests of cognitive performance were completed with the same accuracy and speed by the women before and with treatment, but with testosterone treatment less of the brain
areas involved with these tasks `lit up`.
"This indicates that that less brain activation was required for the women to complete the tasks with the same precision and accuracy when treated with testosterone.
"Testosterone production in women declines with age so that levels in postmenopausal women are usually about half of those in younger women," team leader Prof Susan Davis said.
According to the scientists, there are no current treatments available to improve brain function or memory, and the results of the study support the hypothesis that the
hormone testosterone may be a potential treatment to prevent the age-related decline in brain function.
"We suspect there could be a strong correlation between low testosterone levels and a decline in female brain function, as has been observed in men, and our findings
support the need for further research into the potential use of testosterone for prevention of deterioration in brain function and memory," Prof Davis said.
The findings were presented at the North American Menopause Society meeting at San Diego in the US this month.