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Release: Immediate

EDITORS: A similar news release on this study was first issued Oct. 21, 1996

UI researchers study testosterone as treatment for depression in men

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa researchers invite additional participants to join a study on testosterone replacement therapy as a treatment for late-life depression in men.

For the past year Dr. Paul Perry, UI professor of pharmacy and psychiatry, and his colleagues have been conducting preliminary research on the male sex hormone testosterone and its effect on men over age 55 with depression. The researchers are learning more about the effectiveness of testosterone replacement therapy as a treatment for depression.

From age 40 to 70, testosterone levels decrease at a rate of one percent per year, Perry says. A decrease in testosterone levels is one possible factor in the development of a menopause-like condition known as andropause, in which emotional, hormonal and physical changes occur as men age. Thus, andropause could be a precursor for the development of late-life depression in men.

Researchers hope to determine what dosage of testosterone is most effective in treating depression in older men. Although the relationship between the lack of testosterone and the onset of depression in men isn't fully understood, small testosterone doses have been correlated with feelings of increased well-being and increased lean muscle mass. Several participants have completed the UI study over the past year, but more research is needed.

Participants are invited to take part in the UI study. Eligible men must be at least 55 years old with significant clinical depression and not currently taking an antidepressant medication. Individuals will participate for an eight-week period. Each weekly visit will last approximately one hour, with the possibility of a six-week extension of conventional antidepressant therapy.

For more information, call (319) 335-9584.