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Approved research

Evaluation of a causal association between testosterone levels, dementia, and adverse mental health outcomes

Principal Investigator: Dr Kevin Nead
Approved Research ID: 55986
Approval date: April 23rd 2020

Lay summary

Research suggests that testosterone may be important for maintaining brain health. Low testosterone levels have been linked to an increased risk of dementia. Additionally, medications that lower testosterone levels have also been shown to be associated with increased dementia risk. However, whether low testosterone actually causes dementia, or whether low testosterone and dementia simply have shared risk factors, is unknown. The primary question to be answered by this project is to determine whether low testosterone is causally associated with increased dementia risk. The primary aim of this study is to use a genetic approach called Mendelian randomization to determine whether genetically conferred decreased testosterone levels are associated with an increased risk of dementia. We will secondarily evaluate other adverse mental health outcomes including anxiety and depression. We anticipate that this project will take 24 months to complete. The primary public health impact of this study is that it will provide crucial information regarding dementia risk for individuals and patients who are considering therapies to increase or decrease testosterone levels, such as men with prostate cancer considering androgen deprivation therapy.