Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Androgen therapy boosts muscle strength for older men


A short course of hormone therapy appears to increase older men’s strength and may help seniors continue their everyday activities throughout the aging process, according to a study released today at the Endocrine Society’s 84th Annual Meeting.

Men over age 60 who took the androgen oxandrolone daily for 12 weeks had significantly stronger muscles in their upper and lower body than men who took a placebo, according to E. Todd Schroeder, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and lead author of the study.

The findings suggest that supplemental androgen therapy might benefit older men who are prone to losing muscle mass-a process known as sarcopenia-as they age. Loss of leg power may interfere with basic activities, such as rising from a chair or walking up stairs. That, in turn, can lead to immobility, eroding independence and depression.

"Our findings are encouraging because a short course of treatment appears to increase muscle mass, strength and power, which can be augmented or maintained with subsequent resistance exercise," Schroeder says. "We are in the process of testing how well such effects are maintained following treatment and to what degree additional exercise improves these changes."

The challenges of maintaining the day-to-day health of seniors are mounting as fast as the nation is aging. By the year 2030, the number of people older than 65 will climb to 70 million in the U.S. alone.

Schroeder’s research aims to preserve the quality of life for many of these older men and women.

In his study, researchers monitored 32 men between 60 and 87 years old. About two-thirds of them were chosen at random to take 20 milligrams daily of oxandrolone, known by the trade name Oxandrin, while the rest took a placebo.

He and his colleagues measured the men’s muscle strength weekly by testing the maximum weight the men could lift with their arms and legs using equipment such as a leg press machine. They also measured muscle mass and other lean tissue using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (commonly called a DEXA scan) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

By the 12th week, men in the oxandrolone group had significantly increased maximal voluntary strength and power in their legs. Scientists have shown that maximal voluntary strength, which is measured by leg extension, is highly correlated with physical function among seniors. Maximal voluntary strength in the arms also was improved.

Study participants made most of their gains within the first six weeks, suggesting that six weeks of treatment may be enough to improve strength and power in older men, Schroeder says. Improvements in muscle strength were proportional with increases in muscle mass.

Androgens are linked to muscle mass in this way:

The body naturally uses the androgen testosterone to stimulate the creation of protein throughout the body, especially in muscle. Testosterone is the most powerful regulator of muscle. But levels of testosterone in the body decline over the course of a lifetime, and loss of muscle is linked to these decreased levels.

A semisynthetic agent (oxandrolone) that acts like testosterone can be used to supplement androgen activity in older persons with low levels of testosterone.

Since androgens increase the building of contractile muscle proteins- called actin and myosin- in the body, researchers believe they can help augment muscle mass that is lost during aging.

Skeletal muscle mass reportedly declines about 15 percent between the third and eighth decades of life, and as much as 30 percent afterward. And muscle seems to be lost in certain key areas such as the arms and thighs, which can especially hurt seniors’ ability to lift groceries, walk quickly, rise from a seated position and climb stairs.

Oxandralone was well-tolerated, Schroeder says, and separate findings from the study group indicated it also benefits body fat.

As people age, they not only lose muscle mass, but they gain fat around the middle, putting them at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and other problems. But in the men taking oxandrolone there was an increase in muscle mass both in the limbs and throughout the body, while the amount of fat carried in the trunk and throughout the body decreased.

Schroeder and colleagues plan to include women in future studies, since androgens also are important for maintaining bone mass and helping to prevent osteoporosis.

While many seniors may want to run to the doctor to ask for androgen therapy, only those seniors with initially low testosterone levels will benefit the most, Schroeder says.

Edward T. Schroeder, Dajun Qian, Yolanda Stewart, Carla Flores, Carmen Martinez, Michael Terk and Fred R. Sattler, "Muscle Strength and Power Changes with 12 Weeks of Oral Androgen Therapy in Older Adult Men," The Endocrine Society’s 84th Annual Meeting. Category: Aging. Presentation 1:45 p.m., June 22.

Jon Weiner | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>