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Low testosterone link with depression in men

Older men with clinical depression have lower levels of free testosterone than those without depression suggesting some men could benefit from supplements of the hormone, researchers report.

A questionnaire sent to almost 4,000 Australian men over the age of 65 to assess depressive symptoms found 5.1% were clinically depressed at the time of the study.

Men with a total testosterone concentration in the lowest quintile, below 308 ng/dl, were 55% more likely to be depressed than those with the highest levels, equal to or above 556ng/dl.

Those with the lowest free testosterone levels were almost three times more likely to be depressed than those with the highest levels.

The authors say a randomised controlled trial is required to determine whether the link between low free testosterone level and depression is causal because older men with depression may benefit from systematic screening of free testosterone concentration and testosterone supplementation.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008;65:283-9

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