Why Australian scientists are studying testosterone treatment for diabetes

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Low testosterone type 2 diabetes link to be studied in Australia.
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Results of a study published last year suggested low testosterone levels might boost the chances of type 2 diabetes for men. Now researchers in Australia have launched a clinical trial to find out if the hormone could help with prevention.

A 2008 study linked the disease to low testosterone in young men in findings published in the journal Diabetes Care.

The clinical trial includes giving men testosterone injections that will be compared to placebo.

Men in the study will also enroll in a dedicated weight loss program through Weight Watchers and will include 1500 Australian men at risk for the disease.

Price tag for the study is $4.8 million that will include the States of South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.

What might testosterone do for diabetes prevention?

Professor Gary Wittert from the University of Adelaide's School of Medicine explained in a press release how middle age spread – especially around the mid-section – puts men at higher risk for diabetes. Fat in the mid-section is also linked to lower testosterone levels, as is aging.

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Low testosterone could have implications for a man’s desire to exercise and can impact sexual function. Lack of sexual function is also linked to type 2 diabetes.

Wittert said, "By giving testosterone supplements to men in that critical pre-diabetes stage, and by putting them on a dedicated weight-loss program, we expect to see sustained reductions in weight and a reduced chance to develop type 2 diabetes."

The researchers say they hope the study will be ‘life-changing’ for men in Australia who have an opportunity to cut their risk factors for diabetes with weight loss as well as contributing to important research.

Men in the study will receive a complimentary membership to Weight Watchers, either at a facility or online.

The study is called T4DM (Testosterone 4 the prevention of Diabetes Mellitus) and is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and will be conducted over a period of 2 years.

The link between low testosterone and development of type 2 diabetes has been suggested in the past. Now Australian scientists are taking research to the next level to find out if boosting levels of the hormone can prevent the disease in men.

Source:
T4DM Study
News release
1/24/2013

Image credit: Morguefile

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