Harvard Men's Health Watch

Testosterone, aging, and the mind

When men (and, for that matter, women) think about the powers of testosterone, they are not likely to consider mental processes. Indeed, the male hormone has much more obvious roles in a man's body. Still, new research suggests that testosterone may have a surprising role in masculine mentality.

Before you consider how testosterone affects the mind — and before you even begin to think about hormone therapy — you should know how testosterone is produced, how it affects the body, how it changes with age, and how it's measured.

The testosterone connection

Although testosterone is the most potent male hormone (androgen), it is only one of many. When the ancient Greeks provided the name, they chose well: "androgen" comes from the words for "man-maker," and, indeed, androgens make the man, or at least his characteristic male traits.

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