Scientists in Australia will conduct a first-of-its-kind study this year to assess whether testosterone treatment can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in men who are at high risk of the disease.
The two-year, multi-million pound study will involve up to 1500 overweight and obese male participants, aged 50-74 years, who have higher than normal blood glucose levels.
All the participants will be enrolled in weight loss programmes and receive injections of either testosterone or a placebo every three months. They will then be followed up for two years for incidence of type 2 diabetes.
Lead researcher Professor Gary Wittert, from Adelaide University’s School of Medicine, said the exact role of testosterone in the onset of the disease is unclear, but explained that weight gain in middle-age can cause men to lose testosterone and the motivation to exercise.
“We’ve known for quite a long time that when men become obese, perhaps if there are disturbances of metabolism, that their testosterone level falls,” he said.
“If you have no testosterone, and that’s often done for example to treat prostate cancer you tend to lose muscle mass and gain fat mass, and it’s known that that increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“What we think is occurring is that you get obesity – that’s what’s causing the risk of diabetes, but the low testosterone causes a feed-forward effect.
“Now whether the best treatment is weight loss, which increases testosterone, or giving testosterone is the question we’re trying to answer.”

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