When we think about the powers of testosterone, we usually do not consider mental processes. However, research suggests that testosterone levels may affect men's cognitive performance, reports the January 2008 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch.
All the body's attributes change with age, and mental functions are no exception. Memory is the most fragile mental function. With age, new learning is slower, new information is processed less carefully, and details often slip. These changes give rise to the "senior moment" in healthy elders and to cognitive impairment and dementia in others.
Testosterone levels decline with age, just when memory begins to slow. Might falling hormone levels account for some of the problem? Perhaps, says Harvard Men's Health Watch. The data are far from conclusive, but studies have found some connections. For instance, higher testosterone levels in midlife have been linked to better preservation of tissue in some parts of the brain. And in older men, higher testosterone levels have been associated with better performance on cognitive tests.
To continue reading this article, you must login
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.