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Testosterone Is Mixed Blessing To Men's Health

University Park, Pa. -- Higher levels of testosterone can have significant health benefits for some middle-aged men, according to a Penn State study.

"Men with higher testosterone are less vulnerable to high blood pressure, heart attacks, frequent colds and obesity," says Dr. Alan Booth, professor of sociology and human development. "In addition, they are more likely to rate their health as excellent or good rather than fair or poor. Studies show self ratings of health correlate highly with physicians' assessments.

"The benefits of higher testosterone levels have a down side, however," Booth notes. "Some, but not all, men with higher levels of testosterone are more likely to engage in behavior that cancels out the beneficial effects of testosterone."

Those with higher levels of testosterone are more inclined to smoke, drink alcohol excessively and indulge in risky behavior that leads to injury. The biggest detriment to health by far is the tendency for high testosterone men to smoke.

Booth; Dr. Douglas A. Granger, assistant professor of biobehavioral health and director of Penn State's Behavioral Endocrinology Laboratory in the College of Health and Human Development; and Dr. David R. Johnson, professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, have published their work in the paper, "Testosterone and Men's Health, in a recent issue of the Journal Of Behavioral Medicine.

The researchers studied testosterone and health in a sample of 4,393 men between the ages of 32 and 44 who had served in the military between 1965 and 1971. The men were interviewed and medically examined. Testosterone was measured in plasma from blood drawn at 8 a.m. Concentrations ranged from 53 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl) to 1,500 with an average of 679.

"Comparison of men with slightly average levels of testosterone (400/ng/dl) with men with slightly above average levels (800 ng/dl) revealed signifi
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Contact: Paul Blaum
pab15@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
19-May-1999


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