The precise impact of age-related changes in hormone levels on cognition in men is still unclear due to differing study designs and contradictory findings. This study was undertaken to examine the relationship between endogenous sex hormone levels and cognitive functioning in healthy older men using a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests and measurement of serum sex hormone levels. Verbal learning and memory, visual-motor processing, spatial abilities, working memory and attention, and levels of testosterone and estradiol were evaluated in 54 healthy older men. Regression analyses revealed significant curvilinear associations between working memory function and both free and bioavailable testosterone levels, suggesting that an optimal hormone level may exist for maximal performance on tasks of executive/frontal lobe functioning. However, no other relationships were evident between either estradiol or testosterone levels and any of the other cognitive functions evaluated. Hormone assays performed at the end of the study revealed that a considerable portion of the healthy elderly men in our sample met criteria for hypogonadism and suggests that their low hormone levels may have mitigated against discovering other significant hormone–cognition relationships.
Source: “Sex steroid hormones and cognitive functioning in healthy, older men” from Hormones and Behavior, Volume 57, Issue 3, March 2010, Pages 352-359
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