Old-age testosterone decline leads to falls, study says - CNN.com

CHICAGO, Illinois (Reuters) -- Men 65 and older with low testosterone tend to fall more often than older men with higher levels of the sex hormone, according to a study published Monday.

It may be that low levels of the hormone impair vision, thinking processes or coordination, said the report from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

"Like women on hormone replacement therapy, many older men are turning to testosterone therapy to regain some of what has been lost physically and mentally in the aging process," said Dr. Eric Orwoll, a professor of medicine at the school.

"These results validate the need for more research on this trend in treatment for men in the advanced years of life," he added.

The study involved 2,587 men aged 65 to 99 starting in 2000 and continuing to March of 2005. Their testosterone levels were checked through a blood test, their grip strength, leg power and balance ability were recorded and every every four months they reported whether they had fallen.

Fifty-six percent of the men had at least one fall, and many fell frequently, the researchers said. Lower testosterone levels were associated with increased fall risk generally, and men with the lowest testosterone levels had a 40 percent higher risk of falling than those with the highest levels.

The study, appearing in the Archives of Internal Medicine, said that testosterone decline is a normal part of aging in men. It also said previous studies have shown that older men with reduced testosterone who got shots of testosterone experienced an increase in muscle mass and strength.